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 Siskin Children's Institute

According to experts babies are “telling” us more than we realize. Infants do communicate through their behavior. They tell us how they feel, what they need and how the environment is impacting them with their own set of signals or cues. 

Stressed babies often have subtle or strong signs such as avoiding eye contact or gaze/looking away, stiffening of the body, arms and legs, crying, irritable and possibly inconsolable. These cues/behaviors let infants inform us that they are stressed, tired or overloaded. When parents have methods to respond to these cues/behaviors the infant can improve his/her ability to self- regulate and begin to learn how to calm himself. Some ways to assistant your baby when you recognize these cues are reduce the activity (stop bouncing, rocking etc), provide quiet comfort, modify environment such as reducing the noise, dim the lights decrease activity or tuck the babies arms across their chest and gently hold. Your patience and these systematic measures will allow time for your baby to respond and calm.

What does a baby look like when they are stabilized? Some of those cues can be as simple as bringing their hand to their mouth, grasping their shirt or other hand or simply having a quiet moment with alert eyes. These moments can signal to you that your baby is in an available state to make eye contact, listen to your voice, or other engaging activities. By acknowledging infant cues as authentic communication and responding to what your baby is trying to convey to you, you will be taking important steps toward meeting your baby’s needs while supporting their ability to regulate their own behavior.

Author: Lisa Spurlock, Physical Therapy Assistant


Posted by Siskin Admin  | Category: Early Childhood Development

The Power of Play

September 20th, 2018

Hot off the press! The American Academy of Pediatrics just released a clinical report on The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children (September 2018). The report states that Play is not frivolous; it is brain building. Play enhances brain structure and function. Play promotes the process of learning.

This report is basically telling pediatricians to write a prescription for play for young children. This is perfect timing as childhood programs are pressured to add more didactic components and less playful learning. Pediatricians are being asked to emphasize the role of a balanced curriculum that includes the importance of playful learning for the promotion of healthy child development. “Play is fundamentally important for learning 21st century skills, such as problem solving, collaboration, and creativity, which require the executive functioning skills that are critical for adult success”. The report expresses that successful early childhood programs encourage playful learning in which children are actively engaged in meaningful discovery. Does this sound like the Siskin Engagement Classroom Model? It sure does! 

Pediatricians are being encouraged to advocate along with preschool educators (as well as communicate to policy makers, legislators, and educational administrators) to focus on play-based learning rather than didactic learning by letting children take the lead and follow their own curiosity. The Siskin Engagement Model focuses on increasing a child’s engagement through play and embedding developmental standards into play within the natural routines of a child’s day. However; in order for play to be beneficial, play must be consciously facilitated by skilled teachers, who are well-trained in observing children and understanding how play contributes to the children’s mastery of concept and skills.   

Read the entire article here.


Author: Julie Mickel, Director, Early Learning Center

Posted by Siskin Admin  | Category: Early Childhood Development