Relationship-based Teaching: Supporting Stressed Young Children

Relationships with caring adults provide context for the growth and learning of young children. In this course, gain an understanding of how to support challenging children and their peers in preschool, child care, and early intervention settings.

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Earn 42 clock hours

No sessions are currently scheduled.

Learning objectives

  • Understand how relationship history and trauma impact development.
  • Explore ways to address specific challenges in the classroom, such as aggression, dissociation, and withdrawal.
  • Learn how to use “reflective teaching” and “reflective collaboration” to better understand young children and offer appropriate interventions.
  • Use case studies and team processing for problem solving.

Who should register

  • Early childhood educators
  • Special education educators
  • Others who are working with challenging children in preschool, child care, and early intervention settings

This online course is approved by the Minnesota Center for Professional Development to count toward career lattice steps. It also is approved by the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) for their members (ICEA accepts a maximum of 24 clock hours per course).

What to expect

  • The course is instructor-led with feedback and interactions provided.
  • All activities and assignments for this course are asynchronous and online. Nothing takes place in real time.
  • You have access to the course site 24/7 and can fit your work on the course into your schedule.
  • Activities and assignments include readings, videos, discussion board, recording videos using an online tool called FlipGrid, and reflection papers.
  • You are expected to participate fully and abide by weekly submission due dates for assignments and activities.

Knowledge and competency areas

The early childhood competencies are those used by MN – ACHIEVE’s knowledge and competencies framework.

  • Child development and learning
  • Creating positive learning experiences
  • Promoting cognitive development
  • Promoting social and emotional development
  • Observing, recording, and assessing development
  • Assessing and using information to plan

Meet the instructors

Headshot of Julie NelsonJulie Nelson

Julie Nelson has more than 20 years of experience as a therapeutic preschool teacher in the Families Together Program at Lifetrack Resources. She earned a master’s certificate/level II in child abuse prevention studies from the University of Minnesota, and a BA in psychology from St. Olaf College. Nelson is the author of two children’s books: Families change: A book for children experiencing termination of parental rights and Kids need to be safe: A book for children entering foster care (Free Spirit Press).

Jill Barrow

Jill Barrow, MA, is licensed in early childhood special education. She has many years of experience working with highly at-risk children in a therapeutic preschool setting. Barrow is currently an early childhood special education teacher with St. Paul Public Schools.

Required textbook

Koplow, L. (Ed.)(2007)(second edition). Unsmiling faces: How preschools can heal. New York: Teachers College Press.

Cancellation Policy

  • Cancellation two weeks or earlier before the start of the session: Full refund less $25 administrative fee
  • Cancellation less than two weeks before the start of the session: No refund will be provided.

To cancel, send an email to Karen Anderson at

CEED reserves the right to refuse/cancel a registration due to low enrollment, a prerequisite not completed, or other circumstances making the registration nonviable. In the event of a course cancellation, registrants have the option to receive a full refund OR to transfer the registration to the same course held in a future session. CEED will accept substitutions for attendees.


Contact Karen Anderson, online course manager, at

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