The Washington Post just published an article I think many educators will want to read – How parents can shape a child’s future with small moments of joy.
Many of us are familiar with ACEs, or adverse childhood experiences (if you aren’t, the article discusses them).
What the new science of PCEs, or positive childhood experiences, has found, though, is that these can counteract ACES:
A study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics in 2019 examined the effect of these PCEs. In addition to asking about ACEs, the researchers asked 6,188 adults seven additional questions about their childhoods.
Had they been able to talk to their families about their feelings? Had they felt their families stood by them during difficult times? Had they enjoyed participating in community traditions? Did they feel a sense of belonging in high school? Were they supported by friends? Were there at least two non-parent adults who took an interest in them? Had they felt safe and protected by an adult in their home?
The risk of depression or mental health struggles dropped by 72 percent among adults who reported six or seven of the positive experiences listed above, and by 50 percent for those reporting three to five.
We educators can have obvious significant roles in at least two of those PCE’s:
Did they feel a sense of belonging in high school?
Were there at least two non-parent adults who took an interest in them?
And we might be able to have less obvious roles in two others:
Had they enjoyed participating in community traditions? (by helping to make our schools, as institutions, having key roles in community traditions)
Were they supported by friends? (by helping to facilitate relationships between peers in our classrooms)
We need to support our students who might be experiencing ACES. But it seems like some educators may spend too much time emphasizing a “savior” role, and we should, perhaps, spend more times creating the conditions for “assets” like PCEs to be formed.
I’m adding this post to The Best Posts On Looking At Our Students Through The Lens Of Assets & Not Deficits.