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Valentine’s Day marked the third year that the Circle Preschool Program has been open to help children who have suffered trauma related to abuse, neglect or exposure to domestic violence. The program has proven to change lives as SCAN’s highly trained staff members and volunteers provide intensive mental health treatment and high quality early childhood education daily.
Below is an interview featuring Denise Powers, Program Director & Early Childhood Specialist, and Fred Orelove, Ph.D., Volunteer and Planning Director at Yale National Initiative.
What makes you most excited about coming to the preschool every day?
Denise: I am driven to come to the preschool every day to provide consistency for the children and to show them that they deserve safe grown-ups coming to school just for them!
Fred: The thought of helping to put a smile on a child’s face and the opportunity to work with an extraordinary staff.
What has been one of the greatest successes for you during the program’s existence?
Denise: It is thrilling when the children realize that they have great ideas worth the time and attention from the adults and their friends at school. This realization promotes so much emotional, social, cognitive and motoric development.
Fred:To watch children grow, develop, and successfully transition into kindergarten.
What do you hope for the future of the preschool?
Denise: One of my hopes is that we can inform all individuals, agencies and entities about Trauma-Informed Care so that when children present trauma-related behaviors, they are understood and supported to meet their needs.
Fred: To have the resources to continue to serve children and families and to launch additional sites, which will enable our community to support more children.
What is one thing that you would like someone to know about the program that they may not understand or know?
Denise: It seems essential that people who care for children understand that children must feel regulated to develop to their potential. A child must feel emotionally and socially secure to be able to learn with and from peers and adults. Once children feel safe and regulated, they are able to form relationships, interact, engage and learn. This is what the Circle Preschool offers to young children and their caregivers.
Fred: That it exists, and why it is necessary, and, especially, that it provides exemplary support for very deserving children and families.