March 2022 marks the start of the third year of living with and working through the COVID-19 pandemic. When asked to describe how they are feeling at this juncture, many people describe being “weary,” “burned-out,” and “over it.” The term “pandemic fatigue” proliferates across the media and seems to encapsulate a collective sense of exhaustion, frayed nerves, and a desperate desire for the pandemic to end. These feelings may be magnified in professionals working in helping fields, who experience the pandemic on dual levels: both in their personal lives and circumstances, and again through the lives and experiences of those whom they serve.
Early childhood professionals are experiencing some of the most challenging years of their careers. Yet, amidst this difficulty, there has been remarkable resilience and adaptation to ever-changing circumstances. The concept of “posttraumatic growth” recognizes that the manner in which people and organizations interpret and respond to adversity can be a catalyst for positive change. Such growth requires that organizations must move beyond crisis management and create deliberate opportunities for reflection and learning that actively seek to harness creativity and new ways of thinking, being, and doing. The articles in this issue of the ZERO TO THREE Journal describe efforts to do just that, and provide an inspiring look at how ingenuity, flexibility, and responsive leadership have steered individuals, programs, and organizations toward positive growth. Recognizing this opportunity for growth does not minimize the extent of the trauma many have experienced and are still managing, but it does shine a light on the incredible capacity of the human spirit and, perhaps, provides a reason for optimism and the hope for a better future.
As noted earlier, the opportunity for reflection is a critical component of learning and growth. Reflective practice and supervision have grown in prominence across all sectors of the early childhood field. This growth across disciplines and settings has led to an increasing complexity in definitions and practice. In response, ZERO TO THREE’s Professional Innovations Division released a new publication, Beyond Reflection: Advancing Reflective Supervision/Consultation (RS/C) to the Next Level, authored by Noelle Hause and Sarah LeMoine, that:
- summarizes the rationale for examining how reflective practice is currently defined and used in the early childhood field;
- identifies foundational considerations for the how and who of reflective practice within early childhood sectors and disciplines; and
- outlines five specific opportunities to advance reflective supervision/ consultation, which require additional infant and early childhood mental health field discussion, exploration, and action
The paper is available online at www.zerotothree.org/beyondreflection.
We welcome your reflections on the discussion paper, and the articles in this issue of the Journal. Please submit Letters to the Editor at http://s.alchemer.com/s3/ZERO-TO-THREE-Journal-Letters-to-the-Editor.
Stefanie Powers, Editor-in-Chief
Powers S. (2022). This issue and why it matters. ZERO TO THREE Journal, 42(3), 2.