The Self-Care Problem-Solving Pathway

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Child Care Exchange Magazine

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Early childhood teachers solve problems every day—from guiding children through conflicts that arise on the playground, to communicating with parents about their child’s developmental needs. Problem solving is an essential and daily task for teachers. However, as teachers engage in professional decision making, the emotional toll of this work can be overlooked or diminished. Stress is no stranger to most early childhood teachers, and in 2022, teachers are being asked to make challenging decisions in an enormously complex society. Built on the foundation of the transactional model of stress (Holroyd & Lazarus, 1982; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984) and the Ethical Balancing Act (Figure 1), the Self-Care Problem Solving Pathway (Figure 2), helps teachers move through a series of steps to facilitate intentional consideration of the emotions that accompany and often impede our ability to address complex problems.


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