Self Regulation. What is it? How does it affect school readiness? How can supporting children s s play help? What can we do to nurture it?

Early Years Petite enfance     Self Regulation What is it? How does it affect school readiness? How can supporting children’s play help? What...
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Early Years Petite enfance


Self Regulation

What is it? How does it affect school readiness? How can supporting children’s play help? What can we do to nurture it?

Virtual Workshop Presenters Paige Stirling Fox, Early Literacy Specialist York Region Ontario Early Years

Terry Kelly, Early Literacy Specialist York Region Ontario Early Years

We will be looking at research by the following:    


Dr. Adele Diamond, UBC Dr. Karen Bierman, Penn State U Dr. Bruce Perry, Child Trauma Academy Dr. Deborah Leong, and Dr. Elena Bodrova, Metropolitan State College, Denver, Co. Dr. David Walsh Your own expertise.

What and how did you play?

Poll: What Did You Play? 

Played outside – ball, skipping, mud pies, dolls, tree house, swimming, tobogganing, bikes, hide and seek, etc. Played inside – Barbies, cars, making a fort or house out blankets etc., dolls, cards, checkers, chess, Monopoly, paints, Lego, etc. Played inside – video games, computer games, etc.

How long did you take setting up the game?

How long did you play? How did you solve problems? How did you decide things? How many children did you play with? Were they all the same age?

What are some times that you had to “entertain” yourself, or just sit quietly? How did you do it? •

• •

Temple, church, mosque, synagogue, etc. Long car/train/bus ride Walking Waiting rooms

What is Self-Regulation?

Executive Functions, in the frontal cortex of the brain, depend on 3 core abilities:

#1 Inhibitory control (self control), the ability to resist a strong impulse to do something instead of what one needs to do. This lets us not to give in to every urge and possibly regret our actions, or miss important information or opportunities.

Being able to stay on task, despite distractions or boredom  Self – discipline  Resist grabbing another child’s toy  Resist hitting  Resist a side order of fries  Pay attention to only one voice or sound  Delayed gratification

# 2 Working Memory  


Holding information in the mind Being able to remember what happened before in a story so you can make sense of what happens next. Doing mental arithmetic Remembering what you want to say while someone is talking. Essential to creativity

#3 Cognitive Flexibility 


Being able to easily and quickly change focus, “Now we’re going to talk about what’s for lunch.” Ability to think outside of the box Necessary for creative problem solving

Some Things to Know Stress hormones affect the executive function of the brain.  It can look like ADHD  Putting things into words actually reduces stress hormones.  Kids from lower SES often have a more difficult time self-regulating  Children who know more than one language usually have better selfregulation skills, (Diamond Nov. 2009, Quèbec 2009) 

Marshmallow Test

“Five year olds today are behind in EF compared with 5 year olds a couple of generations ago.” (Smirnova, 1998: Smirnova & Gudareva, 2004)

Why do we think “kids are different today”?

Diamond and other researcher predict that improving young children’s executive functions will improve school readiness, and learning outcomes.

What Can We Do? 

Vygotsky: Engaging in social pretend play is critical for developing executive function in very young children

How does pretend play help?    

Self regulation by others Self regulation of others Self regulation Very different from “Teacher regulation”

Simon Says!

Lips and Ears Book Sharing

Red Light Green Light What Time is it Mr. Wolf? Sleeping Bunnies Hide and Go Seek What other games help develop selfregulation?

What’s Missing?

What’s Missing?

Indentify and try to Reduce Stressors or Causes of Difficulty in Self-Regulation 

Noises - too much, background radio, humming of air conditioner, etc. Lighting - too much, too little, not natural, flashing, etc. Visual distractions - busy walls, many children – garish colours, etc. Too much time in front of screen or sitting still too long

What are others doing? 

Dr. Debora Leong is using Tools of the Mind A key component of this is very little time “teaching” in large groups; lots of time where children are engaged in hands-on, small group activities. Children may need guidance in the dramatic play centre

What else?       

Oral storytelling Dance Music and singing Games with turn-taking Martial arts Yoga Lots of dramatic play!!

Give Us Your Ideas

Resources and References

Article on Play from New York Times

Nurture Shock New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Ashley Merryman

Dr. Stuart Shanker, Shanker, SelfSelf-Regulartin and FullFull-Day Kindergarten


Dr. Leong’ Leong’s entire presentation

Dr. Bruce Perry

Dr. Adele Diamond’ Diamond’s entire presentation http://www.excellence

Questions and Answers

Thank You! 


Please click on the link to complete a brief evaluation: To access this presentation: Paige Stirling Fox: [email protected] Terry Kelly: [email protected] html

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