The Challenge of Connecting to Children

The goal of Connecting Children is to enable adults to cooperatively construct a deep understanding of how to be with young children and demonstrably prove they can indeed employ that understanding to enhance children’s lives.

Once the change they wish to make is achieved, they express in some way what that experience meant to them. Like Rebecca Parrish did with paper cutouts.



Built Out of Daily Events

Using their work with children, participants undertake a journey of discovery, day by day, finding out how to envelop children with support and how to enhance their active engagement. They meet regularly, usually once a week. It is practical research-in-action. Connecting to Children treats people as competent and wise, so it fosters that same attitude towards children, too. The investigations and conversations enable each person be who they are, uniquely, as well as contribute to the small shared community they create. This is a cooperative endeavor, each person working for themselves and simultaneously for the enhancement of others, the setting, and the children.

Results to Expect

  • When staff talk to children; they are more gentle, more natural, and more pleasant.
  • The children run to hug adults on entry.
  • The adults spontaneously report that they have much more fun with the children.
  • Everyone is laughing more often.
  • People say they have changed: they now treat children as people, not little robots.
  • They have fewer problems with behavior and, for many, behavior problems disappear entirely.
  • The parents talk about how their children love coming to school.

The difference between this approach to early childhood professional development and anything else is that Connecting to Children actually changes adults ways of being with children and it proves it module by module. It is an investment in time, — one long year — but it takes at least that long for any of us to make a profound change in our life.

Group Commitment

By completing the tasks in these modules and receiving the support of others, adults investigate their own actions, articulate their fundamental values, and perfect their ability to influence young children. The modules create the opportunity to make a group commitment to work on ourselves together, in small increments towards a tangible, provable increase in effectiveness with children that is felt by other adults, the children, and their families.

The tasks enable each person to construct their own understanding, critically considering what is important to them personally while remaining fully grounded in their current experience with children. It is a challenge for adults to open personal relationships with unique learners in unique circumstances, to act in accord with clear values of what is good, and to develop in each individual a sense of mastery and confidence. This is the heart of becoming really good with children.


Connecting to Children challenges each person to let go of safe habits, to connect with each child, and to enter the profession of learner-sensitive early childhood education.

Quote from Nicholas Hobbs, George Peabody College

hobbsPart of the art of choosing difficulties is to select those that are indeed just manageable. If the difficulties chosen are too easy, life is boring; if they are too hard, life is defeating. The trick is to choose trouble for oneself in the direction of what one would like to become at a level of difficulty close to the edge of one’s competence.

When one achieves this fine-tuning of his life, he will know zest and joy and deep fulfillment.

Next Module D1