Professional Development

Early Childhood Support PD Uses Interactive Simulation

Early Childhood Support PD Uses Interactive Simulation

A health simulation company has released a new simulation for preschool teachers. Kognito's "At-Risk for Early-Childhood Educators" is a professional development training tool that uses interactive, online role-play conversations with fully animated students and caregivers. The goal is to help those adults build their knowledge and skills in child mental health and behavior management.

According to the company, the training is intended to help teachers:

  • Identify signs that a young child in their class might need support;

  • Intervene appropriately in response to behavioral challenges or social-emotional "skill deficits";

  • Bring up concerns with a caregiver and collaborate on a plan; and

  • Practice emotional self-regulation to better support themselves and their students.

With guidance from a virtual coach, learners try different conversation approaches to see what works to meet their goals. Over the course of about 45 minutes, the program goes through four role-play scenarios:

  • In the first, the learner assumes the role of a teacher who tries to refocus the class and help a student, Eli, calm down after he accidentally hits another student during a group activity;

  • In the second, which takes place shortly afterwards, the teacher checks in with Eli to help him identify his feelings and problem-solve for the future;

  • In the third, the learner chats with Eli's mother to share observations and collaborate on a plan around Eli's behavior; and

  • In the fourth, the learner sits down with the grandfather of a student, Sophia, in order to build a relationship and learn about Sophia's behavior at home to better understand how to respond to Sophia in the classroom.

The newest simulation is the latest in a line of professional development programs designed for people in K-12. Other topics include trauma, bullying prevention, suicide "postvention" and crisis response planning, inclusion for LGBTQ students, support of military children and social-emotional learning.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.