Culturally Responsive Self-Care Practices for Early Childhood Educators

Julie Nicholson, Priya Shimpi Driscoll, Julie Kurtz, Domenica Marquez and LaWanda Wesley (2019)

The first self-care book designed specifically for the early childhood field, this guide is filled with helpful strategies and tools that you can implement immediately. 

Recognizing that self-care is not one-size fits all, the authors present culturally responsive strategies drawn from diverse early childhood staff working in a range of roles across communities and contexts. Through key research findings, effective strategies and personal anecdotes, this accessible guide helps readers understand and engage with the critical role self-care and wellness-oriented practices play in creating strong foundations for high quality early learning programs. 

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Books Authored by Julie Kurtz:

Trauma-Informed Practices for Early Childhood Educators: Relationship-Based Approaches that Support Healing and Build Resilience in Young Children. Nicholson, J., Perez, L., & Kurtz, J. Routledge. (2018)


Co-authored Trauma-Informed Practices for Early Childhood Educators guides child care providers and early educators working with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and early elementary aged children to understand trauma as well as its impact on young children’s brains, behavior, learning, and development. The book introduces a range of trauma-informed teaching and family engagement strategies that readers can use in their early childhood programs to create strength-based environments that support children’s health, healing, and resiliency. Supervisors and coaches will learn a range of powerful trauma-informed practices that they can use to support workforce development and enhance their quality improvement initiatives.

triggerstop app.jpg

Click the link called User Guide for a FREE in-depth resource for using the APP


Welcome to Trauma Trigger Stop: Sensory and Emotional Check-In Application designed for children developmentally ages 3-8 years.  This smart phone/tablet APP is intended for use for children who might not be able to access their words when their emotions are intense and they become dysregulated in the moment.  Whether a result of a trauma trigger or emotional trigger in that moment, a child may not have access to the executive parts of their brain in charge of reasoning, logic or words.  The APP can be used to help a child communicate what they are feeling, experiencing emotionally or the sensations in their body during that emotional charge.  An adult who tunes in to how a child feels can better help them calm and regulate their emotions.  Sometimes they do not know or cannot access words when dysregulated.  This gives them an opportunity to share what they may be experiencing by dragging images that match their internal state of sensations and emotions.  It is best to proactively teach children when they are calm how to use the APP first.  Introducing it when they are triggered, emotionally flooded and/or dysregulated is not recommended.  Teaching when they are calm how to use the APP and the sensory objects they can use to communicate their emotions will help kids learn to use the APP before they are triggered


WARNING: This APP is not intended to provide treatment for children.  If there is an emergency or ongoing persistent challenges, referrals for therapy or other evidence-based treatments is recommended. 

Link to Andorid Store:


APP Created by Julie Kurtz:

Trigger Stop: Sensory and Emotional Check-In

(available in the Apple and Andorid stores)

Trigger Stop: Sensory and Emotional Check-In App

Click the video above for a FREE tutorial for using the APP


"I used the APP with my 4-year old daughter Haley.  We practiced when she was calm learning about the 4 zones of flight (orange), fight (red), freeze (blue) and calm (green).  She always had fun reading books and practicing what the characters in the books felt and their physiological sensations. She also really enjoyed pretending with stories we made up together and then exploring the range of sensations and feelings using the APP.  Then one day she became real life in the moment dysregulated and upset.  We pulled out the Trigger Stop APP and she was able to move the thermometer to the red zone and she put in an angry face and several sensory images of dinosaurs, volcanoes and lightening bolts conveying the intensity of her anger.  At first she could not use her words but communicated to me nonverbally while I tuned in to her internal emotional experience by just paying attention and noticing and commenting, "wow, dinosaurs in your belly - that is big emotion" or "I wonder if you are angry right now.".  Then within 15 minutes, her emotions calmed and I asked her if she felt different and wanted to show me using the APP.  She moved the thermometer to green and put flowers and rainbows all inside her body.  Once she was calm, she was able to share the story of what happened to her.  I really feel like practicing sensory and emotional literacy when she was calm helped her identify and communicate nonverbally and verbally when she was in the middle of a real emotional trigger."  Clara - Mom of Haley

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