University of Minnesota
Driven to Discover

Supporting Stressed Young Children Through Relationship-based Teaching

EDHD 5300
Earn a Continuing Education Certificate
(42 clock hours) or 1 Academic Credit

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: Child-Teacher Attachment

Module 3: Tools for Relationship-based/Emotionally Responsive Practice

Module 4: Children with Challenging Behavior--Child/Teacher/Setting Match, Stress Response Continuum

Module 5: Children with Challenging Behavior--Aggression, Behaviors Related to Trauma, Supporting Peers

Module 6: Children with Challenging Behavior: Emotional Overwhelm, Testing, Neglected Children

Module 7: Reflective Teaching and Reflective Collaboration

Module 8: Special Populations of Children

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).

Next Session: September 7 to November 9, 2015


For 42 clock hours: TBD plus required textbook

For 1 academic credit: $400 plus required textbook

Registration Information

To register for clock hours:

  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.


To register for academic credit:

There is a two-step registration process. You must complete both steps in order to fully and completely register for this course. You will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site, on the Friday before the session begins.

  • Degree-seeking students currently enrolled at the University of Minnesota may not use our for-credit courses toward their degree program. Should a currently enrolled student choose to register for academic credit, the student may be subjected to additional University fees.
  • Degree-seeking students enrolled in schools other than the University of Minnesota wishing to use our course as an elective must directly seek prior approval from their degree program.
  1. Please read important information in About Online Courses.
  2. Register online.
  3. Complete and submit the Registration Request for Graduate Credit form. Closely follow the instructions on page 1 since they differ from what is listed on the form and the instructions on page 1 streamline the process for you (e.g., do NOT register via OneStop; send your Grad Credit Request form to CEED, not the University). For summer session, this form must be received in CEED's office no later than August 24, 2015. CEED will obtain the appropriate approval signatures and forward your form to One Stop Student Services.
  4. When the University processes your request form, you will receive a confirmation from One Stop Student Services with information regarding your student account and payment. You must activate your student account for both payment and to use in logging into the course site.
  5. On the Friday before the session begins, you will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site.

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.

Comments 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 our out of the classroom!"

Related Resources

Upcoming Sessions

  • Spring 2015: February 16 to April 20, 2015
  • Fall 2015: September 7 to November 9, 2015


If you have further questions our would like a copy of the syllabus, please contact Karen Anderson, CEED Online Course Manager, at 612-625-6617 or

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Last modified on February 21, 2013.