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Culturally Responsive Self-Care Practice

Culturally Responsive Self-Care Practices for Early Childhood Educators
Nicholson, J., Shimpi Driscoll, P., Kurtz, J., Marquez, D., and Wesley, L. Routledge. 

The first self-care book designed specifically for the early childhood field, this guide is filled with helpful strategies and tools that you can implement immediately. Recognizing that self-care is not one-size fits all, the authors present culturally responsive strategies drawn from diverse early childhood staff working in a range of roles across communities and contexts. Through key research findings, effective strategies and personal anecdotes, this accessible guide helps readers understand and engage with the critical role self-care and wellness-oriented practices play in creating strong foundations for high quality early learning programs. 

100% proceeds donated

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Trauma-Informed Practices for Early Childhood Educators: Relationship-Based Approaches that Support Healing and Build Resilience in Young Children Nicholson, J., Perez, L., & Kurtz, J. Routledge. 

Trauma-Informed Practices for Early Childhood Educators guides child care providers and early educators working with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary aged children to understand trauma as well as its impact on young children’s brains, behavior, learning, and development. The book introduces a range of trauma-informed teaching and family engagement strategies that readers can use in their early childhood programs to create strength-based environments that support children’s health, healing, and resiliency. Supervisors and coaches will learn a range of powerful trauma-informed practices that they can use to support workforce development and enhance their quality improvement initiatives.


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Trauma-Responsive Practices for Early Childhood Leaders: Creating and Sustaining Healing Engaged Organizations Nicholson, J., Leland. J., Kurtz, J., Wesley, L. & Nadiv, S.

Early childhood organizations and systems have a critical role to play in providing children and families impacted by trauma with stability, safe spaces, connections to caring adults and links to supportive services and interventions. Through understanding and responding sensitively to stress and trauma, administrators and staff can help reduce the negative impacts they can have on children. Trauma-sensitive environments are also critical for the early childhood workforce as many have their own trauma histories and are at risk for secondary traumatic stress or vicarious trauma as a result of working with a growing number of children and adults impacted by trauma.

100% proceeds donated
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Trauma-Responsive Family Engagement in Early Childhood: Practices for Equity and Resilience Nicholson, J., Kurtz, J. 

It is an unfortunate reality that an increasing number of young children and their families are entering early learning programs having experienced trauma or living in conditions of toxic stress (Bethell, Davis, Gombojav, Stumbo, & Powers, 2017). As a result, there is an ever present need to increase our individual and collective understanding of how to build relationships, communicate and work with parents and family members in a trauma-sensitive manner that not only reduces stress and prevents harm and re-traumatization, but also strengthens adults’ and children’s capacity for joy, resilience, health and wellbeing. The time is now to implement trauma-responsive resilience-building and healing-centered family engagement practices throughout the early childhood field.

100% proceeds donated
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Understanding My Brain: Becoming Human(E)! (Ages 5-10) Kurtz, Julie

"One of the best Human Brain books of all time" - BookAuthority

When children learn about how their brain works, it enables better decision making and choices to help them feel safe, find calm and to build social-emotional skills.

Tips for Adults Using This Book with Their Children: Think of this as a science book for children ages 5-10, made fun through the lens of four animals. Lizzie the Lizard Plays the Hindbrain, Malcolm the Meerkat Plays the Amygdala, Elsie the Elephant Plays the Limbic Brain and Ozzie the Owl Plays the Prefrontal Cortex!  Complex topics are broken down to help your child understand the science behind their brain and their behavior. Through learning and exploring, they will have increased self-awareness and the tools to stay healthy, safe and calm – socially and emotionally.  What better way to help children learn to identify their emotions and sensations, the size of their emotions/sensations and to promote practices for self-regulation.

This book is designed to be read with your child/children over time. Depending on your child’s developmental age, some may grasp the concepts faster while others may need more time. The most important thing is to create an enjoyable learning experience for you and your child together. Take their lead! If they continue to be interested, then keep reading. If they show signs they are finished for now, listen to those cues and transition to another activity.

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Understanding My Brain: Becoming Human(E)! (Ages 4-8) Kurtz, Julie

"One of the best Human Brain books of all time" - BookAuthority

When children learn about how their brain works, it enables better decisions. 

I believe that children can learn about their brain and behavior as young as 4 and 5 years old.  If children can learn about butterflies, ants, colors, letters, sequencing, so too can they learn about their brain and how it is related to their behavior.


If we teach children early to tune inward and develop foundational skills for social-emotional awareness, then they can build the resilience skills to protect and buffer them from stress.


Children grow up to be humane when they develop self-awareness, self-care, emotion and sensory literacy, body awareness and self-regulation.


I could not find any resources out there for preschool age children, so I created this for caregivers, parents, teachers and those who are raising children ages 4-6 years old.


I hope you enjoy reading and find creative ways to bring these lessons in everyday interactions with your children.


Some Ideas for Adults: 


  1. Use puppets to play each part of the brain.

  2. Read books to children and ask them which part of the brain the characters are responding from.

  3. Create stories with your child around real-life problems (i.e., someone took your toy).  Help them think of how each animal might react to that problem from their hind brain (fight - hitting, flight- running away, freeze – losing their words), how they might feel (limbic brain- sad or angry) and how they might think through their problem to solve it without hurting others, themselves or property (cortex- take turns, ask an adult for help).

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Heading 1BEST finger puppets to go with the book:

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