Message from the Executive Director

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"Group Living for The First Time -Consideration for The Peace of Mind of Parent and Child"

@When joining group living such as at kindergarten, daycare center, child development center or school from a home where things are at their own pace, how the child fits in to a different environment is a very important issue for both the child and their guardians. This time, letfs think about the necessary care and roles that is required of the staff and guardians at this starting point of a new lifestyle.

Providing an environment where a child can feel safe above all else!
@ The first group living for a child is filled with anxieties and confusion. In many cases, they find it difficult to ask staff directly, gWhat do we do here?h, gWhat kind of person are they?h, and gWhat should I do when I have a problem?h. They are not ready to fit into the new environment so quickly. Therefore, their anxieties and confusion appear in their behavior right away; not entering the entranceway or room, not joining in activities, not eating lunch, wandering around, holding on to their mother, etc. If you are in their position, you can understand the meaning of their behaviors, but guardians and staff often feel impatient: gI need to make them get used to group living quickly!h or gI have to make them do the same as the others!h and try to get away from the child quickly or gives out arbitrary orders, which furthers their anxieties and confusion.

@Through this interaction, even though the child looks as though they are getting used to the group, when you observe them carefully, concerning behaviors appear such as not being lively, showing reluctance when they are approached, not enjoying communication with friends, asking unreasonable things of their mother, having more tantrums, becoming reluctant to go to the center or school, etc. These behaviors are a cry for help by an individual who is in an unwilling situation. However, they are sometimes taken as part of the disabilities of the child and arenft recognized as a cry for help.

@It is necessary to give attentive care to both the physical and human environment in order for the center or school to be a place where they can really feel peace of mind. With regards to the physical environment, it is essential to create a calm and fun atmosphere, and care for the child so that they can join in with understanding and acceptance of the center or schoolfs circumstances and flow of activities. The former, human environment, is especially important. The staff are required to ease the childfs anxiety and confusion and give emotional support which leads to peace of mind and motivation, be someone who can notice their problems and provide support, be a mediator between them and their friends, and provide a fun experience.

Building a cooperative relationship between staff and family!
@It is important for guardians and staff to share their perspective and communicate to each other the childfs behaviors at the center or school, and at home. It is required of staff to listen to the guardian, sense the childfs anxieties and confusion in their group living, re-examine teamwork among staff and ways of interacting with them and respond in a flexible manner to the child and their guardian for their peace of mind.

@Without exception, a harmonious social environment which is created through such cooperative relationships gives the child a sense of reassurance and leads to a positive change in their relationships with others, their emotions and communication. Guardians can leave their child in the stafffs hands with ease only by seeing with their own eyes the sight of their child fitting into the center or school, communicating their intentions or demands directly, smiling and being lively. Naturally the staff here would like to build solid relationships of trust with the children as a foundation for therapeutic care, but we would also like to build cooperative relationships with guardians which are supported by a sense of trust.

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Social Welfare Corporation SUISEN FUKUSHIKAI
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