Samples of the Giggle Beans series of books on display at the Eckville Market.

Samples of the Giggle Beans series of books on display at the Eckville Market.

Eckville Elementary teacher advocates positive mental health for young children

Jaleesa Grzech has written a series of books to help children deal with anxiety and stress

Concerned with the mental and emotional well-being of young children, Eckville elementary teacher, Jaleesa Grzech, has written and illustrated a series of books designed to help young children deal with issues of anxiety and stress.

Inspired by her students and her two-year-rold daughter, Grzech recognized the need to help young, developing children understand the various emotions they were experiencing and how to share those feelings.

While early childhood development is a complex process and the inherent problems often difficult to detect, Grzech believes that if children learn about their emotions and how to cope with them early, they will be better equipped to deal with future issues of anxiety and stress.

“I believe teaching kids about their emotions and encouraging them to share their feelings promotes positive mental health habits,” Grzech said.

Indeed, a number of doctors recognize how influential the early stages of development are in a child’s ability to deal with the complexities of young adulthood.

“The foundation for sound mental health is built early in life as early experiences, including relationships with parents, care givers, teachers and peers, shape the architecture of the developing brain,” the website for the Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University states.

A supportive and caring upbringing can have a positive impact on a child as they navigate through the many stages of emotional development, while “adverse early childhood experiences can lead to physical and chemical disruptions in the brain that can last a life time,” according to the Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

Grzech recognized the very real need to help young children understand stress, emotions and to develop positive coping mechanisms.

“I’m very passionate about promoting children’s mental health early on.” Grzech said.

She began to write the “Giggly Beans” series of books this past fall and recently self-published them.

Grzech’s books encourage open and positive dialogue between young children and all those in a care giving capacity including parents, teachers and relatives.

“Kids have a lot on their minds these days and parents are busy. Anytime you can give them a chance to take a few minutes out of their day and incorporate that into their bed time routine, to share about their day; what makes them happy; what makes them sad, it’s time well spent,” Grzech said.