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Storm Homes

I once heard someone from a small #NorthernMinnesota town talk about the "storm homes" in the community where he grew up. Kids who lived in the country were assigned homes in town if a snow storm came in or weather got too bad for the buses to come. He said he never needed to use his storm home but he would imagine that house and the people there, just waiting to take care of him, and it would make him feel good. What a #feelingofsecurity he had! To know that no matter what the weather crisis, he didn't have to worry.

I am currently teaching a class to early educators on children's social emotional development. Many of the comments from teachers are about their worries for their children because of the unrest in the world today. There is a mean-spiritedness in daily politics that rivals anything most of us can remember. The #coronavirus has changed how everyday life looks, including #childcareprograms. Masks and hand sanitizer are now part of the ritual of going places for all of us. Protests and unrest over racial inequality and civil rights are showcased on the news each night and increase a general mood of uncertainty and anxiousness. Some families have lost their income, some have lost their homes. We have all lost a sense of normalcy, of how it was before #CoVid19.

I asked the class how they are supporting social emotional growth for young children today, now, in the midst of all of this. These early educators are building storm homes for children; environments where consistent routines as well as family and cultural rituals are intentionally built and reinforced. Early educators are risking their own health to make sure our children have a place to be when storms roll in.

We can't control everything in the world around us, much as we might hope for that super power. But we can help our children through difficult times, through unexpected snow storms, by supporting the snow homes around us. Tell your elected officials, local and national, to universally fund early childhood. Respect the field by callling it #childcare instead of day care. Thank teachers. And keep hoping for that super power.

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