University of Minnesota
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Relationship-based Teaching: Supporting Stressed Young Children

Earn 42 clock hours

Next Session: February 26 to April 30, 2018

This course is designed for early childhood and special education educators who are working with challenging children in preschool, child care, and early intervention settings. The course is taught using case studies and team processing for problem solving. Students will learn how relationships with caring adults are the context of all growth and learning for young children. The course will explore how to use the tools of "reflective teaching" and "reflective collaboration" to better understand young children in their classes, as well as what intervention approaches might work for children who are having difficulties.

The course is divided into eight learning modules:

Module 1: Early Attachment Relationships and Infant Mental Health

Module 2: Understanding the Development of Highly At-risk Children

Module 3: Child-Teacher Relationships/Relationship-based Practice: A Context for New Learning

Module 4: Frameworks for Thinking about Support and Intervention: Tools for Relationship-based Emotionally Responsive Practice

Module 5: Challenges in the Classroom: Traumatized Young Children, Aggression, Supporting Peers

Module 6: Challenges in the Classroom: Dissociation, Loss, Withdrawn Children-- Curriculum to Support Emotional Life

Module 7: Supporting Families and Staff: Reflective Collaboration

Module 8: Repairing Play: Implementing Emotionally Responsive, Relationship-based Practice

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

International students are welcome!


For 42 clock hours: $395 plus required textbook

Upcoming Sessions

  • Spring 2018: February 26 to April 30, 2018

Registration Information

  1. Please read important information in About Online Courses.
  2. Register and pay online. You will receive a confirmation of registration.
  3. You will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site, on the Friday before the session begins.

Required Textbook

Please purchase the required textbook prior to the start of the session:

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

Julie Nelson and Jill Barrow, Instructors

Julie NelsonJulie Nelson has over twenty years experience as a Therapeutic Preschool Teacher in the Families Together Program at Lifetrack Resources. She has Masters Certificate/Level II in Child Abuse Prevention Studies from the University of Minnesota, and a B.A. in psychology from St. Olaf College

Julie is also 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).

Julie teaches CEED's online course Supporting Stressed Young Children Through Relationship-based Teaching.


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

Testimonials from Past Participants

  • "This course was truly wonderful! I think it should be presented to every child care setting we have! We need more relationship-based teaching. The teachers' experience was obvious and they were so easy to learn from. I just wanted to learn more and more. Thank you!"
  • "The instructors are excellent in their knowledge and presentation of materials. The video clips were essential to the understanding of the context. The textbook is an excellent resource to add to my personal library."
  • "I am so pleased with the information that I have gained through this class. Strategies learned were practical and usable. I believe it will improve my teaching and classroom environment significantly."
  • "This course renewed my energy for working with my kids. I feel like there are some new ways to help these kids succeed and I'm sure I will revisit this material a lot over the years. Thank you, thank you."
  • "This course makes me understand many stress reactions of my children and how important it is for them to feel understood when they react under the stress of not being able to communicate with others."
  • "You did a great with getting the class out to folks in a simple way that was easy to understand/access. And Julie was fantastic. One of the best classes I have taken, in or out of the classroom!"

Related Resources


Contact Karen Anderson, CEED Online Course Manager, at or 612-625-6617.

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Last modified on February 21, 2013.