I just read a reminder from Dr Bruce Perry about his “3R’s” for education. In this essay he reminds us that the new biology and neuroscience will change the face of education. “Our babies and children have to live in a world that is supercharged with stressors that didn’t exist a decade or two ago. Our role as parents and teachers is to understand the biological response to stress and our role in helping the child regulate their ‘state’ back to a place where learning is possible. As parents and teachers these skills will set us up to assist our children in experiencing more pleasure and joy in their new lives.”
Dr. Perry’s 3 R’s are:
- Regulate (Brainstem and midbrain) – What we need to do is help children regulate and calm their stress responses (fight – flight – freeze). What can we do? Offer comfort and reassure them you are there.
- Relate (Limbic Brain) – For this R we need to connect with our child. Their feelings need to be validated so they know we really see, hear and understand them. If a child breaks up a lego project of their brother it is helpful to first respond “I know that was frustrating to have your brother break up your lego project.”
- Reason (Cortical Brain) – Once the child is calm and connected they are able to engage in learning what to do (and only then). Heading straight for the reasoning part of the brain does not work if your child is dysregulated and disconnected from you. Now we can respond with reason concerning the lego project – “What should we do to fix the situation? Maybe we can put projects up higher out of a toddlers reach.”
I also just read that one United Way facility on the east coast is teaching Dr. Perry’s 3 R’s in their training about trauma informed care in September of this year.