As many of you know, I am an Educator/Counselor/Minister that has been focused most of my life on Growth and Healing. As a result I love to see new research on the things that work best to achieve those goals.
I recently read a book by Paul Tough that summarizes a great deal of research on what works to help kids from poor, stressful, low achieving families do better. It is called Helping Children Succeed and follows an early book on a similar topic.
This book is very well done. I strongly recommend it to all those interested in nurturing our kids, especially the poor. Is it early education? More and better education? More emphasis on reading, writing and math?
The key to broadly impacting the millions of at risk is even more basic than these critical items. It is not technical.
Mr. Tough focuses on hiring and training key professionals to intervene with poor children. He mentions many current programs that are working. However, they all use trained and teachers, psychologists, nurses, social workers, etc.
Such programs are wonderful but impossible to spread widely throughout the nation. One program has a budget of Nine Million Dollars and reaches very few children.It is not sustainable. All the gold in Fort Knox is not enough.
Only an approach that has two prongs can succeed.
1. Teach professionals how to equip and deploy numerous current teachers and agency workers how to nurture and care for the kids emotionally as well as intellectually! We do not need more specialists but better trained people currently in the workforce.
2. Train volunteers from churches and the community how to nurture and support the professionals. My friend Lorraine Loomans rand a child care program in Cincinnati. She recruited elders from a nearby nursing home to come over each day and rock the babies to sleep while humming and singing.
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