Can mental health training for teachers reduce preschool suspensions?
Chally Grundwag, a mental health consultant, faced three teachers gathered around a pint-size preschool table. “What kind of kids really push your buttons?” she asked the group.
The teachers at Kidango’s Dorsa Center in San Jose thought for a moment. “Crying ones,” one responded. “I want to say, ‘Stop crying; you’re going to be OK!’ But I can’t.”
A crying toddler may be a commonplace challenge for a parent, but for teachers confronted with more than a dozen meltdowns at once, stress can spike. And overwhelmed teachers may respond in a way that upsets the children further, setting off a cycle that contributes to a high rate of suspensions and expulsions for preschool children. That’s why Grundwag is trying to help.