Psychoanalysis in the Pre-school Classroom

Ms. Vanessa Cid graduated this year with BGSP’s Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Child and Adolescent Intervention.  A pre-school teacher, Ms. Cid was looking for ways to support her students beyond the traditional behavioral methods offered by her school system.  She says of her children, “I was looking for something to address their heavy emotional experiences.”

After the CAGS program, Ms. Cid says that now, rather than coming from a place of judgement of the children, she comes from a place of trying to understand them, particularly in moments of conflict.  She wonders, “What questions can I ask to help this child speak?  What questions can I ask that will encourage more cooperation?” She contrasts this with what she feels happens in a lot of adult/child interactions: “simple compliance.”

In one instance, Ms. Cid describes a young girl who would not engage with any adults, which made it difficult to support her when she was having trouble.  After graduating from the program, Ms. Cid felt more comfortable tolerating and learning to understand the student’s distance.  In turn, by giving the girl more control over her contact with others, Ms. Cid helped the girl very gradually tolerate more interaction with adults.  First using nonverbal communications, then very indirect communications, then object-oriented questions, eventually, Ms. Cid says, “I was able to ask her questions and explore a little more the feelings and narrative in her play.”

Ms. Cid also used her training to facilitate meeting time in her classroom.  This proved helpful, because eventually children could postpone their conflicts with their peers, suggesting, “I want to talk about this in meeting.”  As Ms. Cid comments, the CAGS program “helped me learn to teach my students that all feelings are OK, and help them to distinguish a feeling from a behavior.”  This helps her in the classroom because then students can “stop the action and initiate the talking.”