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DOUBLE TAB TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET We Create Positive Emotional Environments for Children 19 from the recent brain development literature that what we felt in- tuitively for so many years is now backed up by scientific research. Indeed, researchers, educators, psychologists, social workers, and people from disciplines outside of early childhood education are producing evidence that can support our relationships with young children in our classrooms. “We have in fact arrived at a moment in which different disci- plines are converging to produce a new understanding of emotional life” (Gerhardt 2004, 1). In Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain, Sue Gerhardt describes the importance of quality relationships between caregivers and young children. Ger- hardt makes us aware that the ways in which we interact with chil- dren will shape them for the rest of their lives. According to Robin Karr-Morse and Meredith Wiley, a growing body of research shows that if children are badly treated in the first two years of life, they are more likely to become violent older children and adults. They warn us that “infancy and toddlerhood are times of enormous com- plexity when potentials for favorable adult outcomes can be maxi- mized, diminished, or lost” (Karr-Morse and Wiley 1997, 15). Marilou Hyson suggests that twenty years of research should be strong enough evidence to help us realize the importance of chil- dren’s emotional development, as well as the adult’s role in “sup- porting emotional competence.” Hyson summarizes the body of research with four points: 1. Emotions are the principal guides and motivators of be- havior and learning from infancy throughout life. 2. Both positive and negative emotions—joy, interest, sur- prise, as well as sadness, anger, and fear—play important roles in development. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL