Bishwa Pun, coordinates ICDP at Save the Children Nepal and she is also an ICDP trainer – she shares the following news:
Parenting comes with its fair share of joys and challenges. Navigating parenting during COVID-19 has become even more challenging as parents and children spend an unprecedented amount of time together at home. Most of us have experienced this for ourselves.
Save the Children has been collaborating with Stories of Nepal https://www.facebook.com/TheStoriesOfNepal in order to bring stories of the parents who have adopted gentler and affirmative parenting techniques inspired by the ICDP programme. These stories talk about parents taking care of children with love, providing enriching interactions, and establishing limits in a positive way, thus supporting children’s physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development. Our Child Sensitive Social Protection programme (CSSP) provides technical support to local governments to run parenting programmes for parents and caregivers of the Child Grant beneficiaries. The Child Grant is the government’s cash transfer programme aiming to reduce malnutrition of children aged below 5 years and the ICDP programme is part of this initiative.
The Happy Start preschool has extended its work from Tashkent to Serdaja, a town about an hour and a half from Tashkent, in Uzbekistan. The new preschool is called Happy Start 3 and the ICDP programme will be integrated as part of the work of its teachers, whereas the children’s parents will also be offered a course in ICDP later in 2021.
In June 2021, two ICDP facilitators, Valentina Tan and Mardalena Brannstrom (on photo above) visited the Serdaja Happy Start 3 preschool in order to attend the end of year celebration for the 6- and 7-year-old pupils. They had a special programme for the children but they also conducted a session about empathy for the parents, inspired by the ICDP programme. The group explored how they show empathy to their children.
“It was really nice and the parents liked it. We had lots of parents sharing their experiences and showing interest to participate in the training. We showed some videos of positive Interaction which we had made at the Happy Start preschool in Tashkent, where we already trained a group of preschool teachers. One of the fathers said that when we start rolling out the ICDP programme for parents in the autumn of this year, he will join and participate in the training.” – says Magdalena.
Photo above is of one of the participant mothers with her two children.
Autumn 2021 will be a busy time for the ICDP facilitators, Magdalena and Valentina. They plan to train parents as well as teachers at Happy Start and in addition, they are preparing a leaflet and a promotional video about the ICDP programme directed at preschool teachers in general. They plan to visit different schools in order to inform them about ICDP and to offer to run a training programme at their school.
The ICDP programme was introduced in the Higashi Mikata Hoikuen nursery school. The nursery is located in the Hamamatsu (浜松市, Hamamatsu-shi) city in western Shizuoka Prefecture. Link to the nursery website: ひがしみかた保育園 (h-mikata.com).
Hitoshi Maeshima, ICDP trainer and doctor by profession, shared his story about this new ICDP endeavour:
This year (2021), I was contacted by a nursery school director who asked me to become their school doctor. The school in question is the Higashi Mikdat Hoikuen nursery, which opened in April 2021. It can accommodate 120 children and 27 nursery teachers. Several months later, around the 10th of June, the director, the secretary and a nursery teacher visited my clinic and we agreed that I should become their official doctor. I used this opportunity to talk about ICDP; I explained that I went to England three times to participate in ICDP training workshops and afterwards I started to apply the ICDP programme in Japan. During the ten years of using the ICDP programme I discovered how by following the simple ICDP guidelines the relationship between caregivers and their children can be improved, promoting a balanced development of the child’s emotions and intellect. The director has many years of experience in childcare and immediately expressed interest in the programme and showed her appreciation and understanding about the importance of the ICDP guidelines in childcare. She confirmed that she would like to apply the ICDP programme in practice in the nursery and also with the nursery teachers. I agreed to help introduce the programme and we made plans for the training. My first visit to the nursery took place on 14th of July 2021 – during this visit I started the training of the nursery teachers ( see photo above).
Kat Lay Health Editor, Tuesday June 29 2021, The Times
Smacking children does not make them better behaved and is harmful, says a review of two decades of research.
It found that children subjected to physical punishment displayed increased behavioural problems, and that it was likely that smacking had caused the increase. This was true regardless of the child’s sex or ethnicity, or the family’s overall parenting style.
Studies did not find any improvement in children’s attention, cognitive abilities, relationships with others, reactivity to stress, social behaviour or social competence if they had been physically punished.
Experts said it was time for England and Northern Ireland to follow Scotland, Wales and 62 other countries by introducing an outright ban on physical punishment of children.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children are among groups that back a ban.
The paper’s lead author, Dr Anja Heilmann of the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London, said: “Physical punishment is ineffective and harmful, and has no benefits for children and their families. This could not be clearer from the evidence we present.”
The review, led by researchers at UCL and published in The Lancet, looked at 69 studies following children over time. The review searched for links between physical punishment and outcomes, including children’s behaviour, attention and relationships.
Heilmann said: “We see a definitive link between physical punishment and behavioural problems such as aggression and antisocial behaviour. Physical punishment consistently predicts increases in these types of behavioural difficulties. Even more worrying are findings that children who are the recipients of physical punishment are at increased risk of being subjected to more severe levels of violence.”
She said that physical punishment violated children’s rights and that countries should honour obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is clear that children should have the same protection against violence as adults.
“This means England and Northern Ireland should follow the example of Scotland and Wales and give children equal protection in law,” she said.
In England and Northern Ireland parents are not allowed to smack children unless it amounts to “reasonable punishment”, a measure that takes into account how old the child is and the force used. Any smack that leaves a mark such as a bruise or graze could mean a prosecution for assault.
Scotland and Wales removed the defence of reasonable punishment.
Professor Elizabeth Gershoff of the University of Texas at Austin, a senior author of the review, said: “Our research found clear and compelling evidence that physical punishment does not improve children’s behaviour but makes it worse.”
The studies looked at smacking, spanking and slapping. Researchers excluded severe forms of physical punishment such as hitting a child with an object, hitting them on the face or head, or washing out their mouths with soap.
Joanna Barrett, NSPCC associate head of policy, said: “It cannot be right that in 2021 children are the only group in society that it is legally acceptable to assault in England. The case for reform is beyond doubt.” She said Westminster was “behind the curve” and needed to give children in England the same protection as elsewhere in the UK.
The International Assistance Mission (IAM) is a non-profit Christian development non-governmental organization working in Afghanistan since 1966.
The ICDP programme was introduced to a team of health professionals at IAM who were trained during 2019, and after a break caused by the pandemic which lasted one year (2020), the training is now resuming in June2021. It is being organized and conducted by Fattah Najm and the participants are comprised of mental health professionals working at IAM, in the town of Herat.
The ICDP material was prepared for use at workshops – see some of the 8 ICDP guidelines below:
The first day care team to complete the ICDP training belongs to the St. Thomas day care in Hildesheim-Drispenstedt. On Saturday, 26th of June, 18 colleagues received their certificates as ICDP Caregivers from their trainer Rita Crecelius.
Ana Vázquez-Zimmermann, the leader of St. Thomas, was part of the team who started to receive ICDP training on 23rd of November 2020, -which was right in the middle of the lockdown. Restrictions caused by the pandemic meant that the dates of the training had to be postponed several times, but Ana never gave up – nor did her team. And in order to attend the last training session staff-members sacrificed their free weekend.
By following the 8 ICDP guidelines, the professional caregivers at St. Thomas became more and more aware of the value of their work and consequently they started to do it with more self-acceptance and mindfulness. Results of their efforts started to appear: Most of the team-members were able to observe positive changes in their relationships with the children. It transpired with increasing clarity that good and responsive interaction was immediately creating space for good development.
Ana Vázquez-Zimmermann is proud of her ICDP team – the first one in Germany. The certification ceremony provided a special moment for her. She said: “ICDP knowledge brings more awareness into the day care, more Being instead of Doing. This is valuable for both sides. When caregiver stress level decreases, the child starts to thrive.” Ana is already making plans for a refresher course to take place in November 2021. The day is set, and all are looking forward to the future ICDP journey at St. Thomas.
“Before learning ICDP, as a mother of two children, I didn’t know how to prevent the children from fighting, nor how to teach them to put away their toys and do the housework they had agreed to do. Every morning it was so painful, because without constant reminders and fights it seems that they would not be able to leave the house in time for school. After school, they had homework, house chores and the inevitable quarreling. Before I learn ICDP, my “tips and tricks” included threats, yelling, and hitting. I did not like this method, and neither did the children. And this method does not work! I threaten, yelled, and hit them repeatedly for the same unruly behavior. I constantly found myself yelling at the children: “I have said it a hundred times, put away your toys! Hurry up and do your homework!” When I was eating, I was so frustrated, because I repeated it a hundred times before I could even realize that my method did not work…
Through studying (ICDP), I discovered that these problems are not my children’s problems, but my problems! Now I use what I have learned from ICDP about raising my children. I try to let them do their homework independently and give encouragement. I patiently ask the child what happened at school and how they are doing, trying to start an intimate conversation. When I leave the house, I want to treat the children as independent people, let them do homework by themselves, and let my son help his sister with her homework if she needs assistance. When I am cooking, if my daughter wants to join in cutting vegetables; I try follow the child’s initiative and give her a small knife to help me cut the potatoes. I also provide explanations for the many strange questions my son asks me. When my child helps me move flowers and plants, we pay attention to the formation of a leaf… Just like Chairman Wu said: “In fact, ICDP is everywhere in life”, it is just that I have lacked patience and understanding for my children! After studying, I discovered that my children have a lot of good sides, but I only wanted them to do things my way. I did not empathize with my children! Now I am slowly changing. After changing myself, the children will change, and the situation at home will also change! I will continually be using what I have learned!”.
Alla Magidson is an ICDP trainer who helped start a kindergarten in Haifa in 2009. The kindergarten is affiliated to the Mofet institute in Haifa and it is still operational. The Mofet institute Home Page – MOFET International – (macam.ac.il) is a consortium of Israeli colleges of education and it is working on improving the quality of education in the country in general. Its mission is to serve as a professional meeting-place and to facilitate a dialogue among colleagues both in teacher education and in other settings in the education system.
Alla worked at the kindergarten without interruption for 12 years until 2019, and during that time she was using the ICDP programme and principles in her daily work with children, as well as running courses for parents and caregivers.
In 2019 and 2020 she continued her involvement as consultant offering advice and providing assistance whenever problems arose, either with children or in interactions between the kindergarten staff. Moreover, Alla also supported a number of families who sought her assistance with different problems related to children.
Alla was trained in ICDP over twenty years ago. At that time, she was living in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, where she was instrumental in spreading ICDP to many cities, by working with parents and professionals from different care networks for children. When she moved to Israel, she took ICDP with her and has been putting it into practice ever since.
ICDP has been present in the country ever since its registration in 2000. ICDP Sweden http://www.icdp.se/) continues to be very active under current chairperson Annelie Waldau, with the ICDP programme being used by a whole range of networks and professional groups.
During 2020, in the absence of physical meetings due to the corona virus restrictions, ICDP Sweden’s recommendation to its nationwide network was to start both educational and guidance groups via digital platforms.
The policy was that each educator and guide should follow general advice and regulations that apply both nationally and locally. The ICDP training courses were organized over four full days. The first two training days were conducted digitally via Zoom and the other two days were held in person. The Foundation believes that training can be conducted digitally by using a system that is stable and works well with several participants.
The participants, mostly day care leaders, were already familiar with the neurobiological perspective, and thus they knew that the brain development of children depends on safe attachment and attuned communication.
The question was:
How do we implement and cultivate these healthy relationships in a busy daily life under stressful circumstances in the day care?
Together, the leaders are responsible for more than 600 children. As part of the ICDP course, they chose only one child to implement the eight ICDP guidelines for good interaction, step by step.
During the ICDP training the participants discovered that using the guidelines for positive interaction changed their relationship with the children for the better.
Not only did the children increase their self-confidence, their mood and their social behaviours, but the professionals themselves started to feel better, more satisfied and they even felt rewarded by suign their relational wisdom. Many of them were amazed to notice that by raising their awareness even a little, it facilitated remarkable changes in the child.
Eventually, their staff members got curious: What are you doing there? Why is this child so different? As a result, one day care leader decided to train her entire staff with ICDP, others may follow. In the end, all members of the training were proud to be the first ones in Germany to receive an ICDP Caregiver Diploma.
I am now looking forward to bringing more German day care professionals in contact with the ICDP technology for healthy relationships.”
In the second half of 2020, due to Covid-19 the plans for ICDP training were disrupted.