New Early Childhood Mental Health Learning Simulation from Kognito Gives Preschool Teachers Skills to Support Children in Distress

NEW YORK, August 20, 2019 — Kognito, a leading health simulation company, today debuted a new professional development training tool for preschool educators. The online role-play simulation, At-Risk for Early Childhood Educators, is designed to prepare adults to identify when a young student in their class needs more support. The immersive learning experience, in which teachers practice talking with virtual students and caregivers, builds knowledge and skills in child mental health and behavior management. The end goal is to lead real-life conversations on challenging behavior with young students and to collaborate with their caregivers on a plan.
Cases of preschool suspensions and expulsions have dramatically increased in recent years, with preschoolers three times more likely to be kicked out of school compared to older children according to the Yale Child Study Center. This practice impacts social and emotional development immediately and in the long term, contributing to higher likelihood that students drop out of school permanently. These consequences are causing policymakers and preschools to rethink how they respond to challenging behavior in the classroom.

For preschool teachers, lack of training on responding to disruptive behavior can exacerbate feelings of stress and burnout, in turn negatively impacting their teaching. Recognizing underlying causes of disruptive student behavior such as trauma, mental health, and home environments can make a crucial difference in connecting children to support. Kognito’s new simulation was designed to address these issues by training preschool teachers to:

  • Identify signs that a young child in their care might need support
  • Intervene appropriately in response to behavioral challenges or social-emotional skill deficits
  • Bring up concerns with a caregiver and collaborate on a plan, and
  • Practice emotional self-regulation to better support themselves and their students.

“We’ve provided hundreds of thousands of K-12 teachers and staff with training in communication techniques that support student wellbeing. These skills change attitudes and build connections that facilitate more students getting the mental health services they need. We are thrilled to round out our product offerings with the launch of At-Risk for Early Childhood Educators for the preschool market,” said Ron Goldman, CEO of Kognito. “With more attention on emotional regulation among three- to five-year-olds, we developed a product for preschool teachers to lead conversations with students and develop relationships with caregivers. These role-play conversations will help teachers effectively manage their classrooms and collaborate with caregivers to build a community around students who need additional support.”

At-Risk for Early Childhood Educators joins Kognito’s At-Risk suite of online professional development role-play simulations tailored for elementary, middle, and high school grades. These tools are currently adopted by schools, districts, and statewide agencies across the country to train school personnel to address student mental health. The scenario-driven programs were developed with mental health experts and educators to portray common, relevant, and realistic situations with students and parents.

Recent studies published in the Journal of School Health, Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science, and Journal of LGBT Youth report significant improvements in teacher attitudes and behaviors to perform a mental health gatekeeper role after completing Kognito At-Risk simulations. To complement mental health and suicide prevention training, Kognito released Trauma-Informed Practices, developed in collaboration with UNICEF and Mental Health America of Greater Houston, last year. Training simulations on bullying prevention, suicide postvention, LGBTQ cultural competency, and social-emotional learning are also available to educators and students.  

More information about At-Risk for Early Childhood Educators is available here.

About Kognito

Kognito is a health simulation company whose evidence-based simulations harness the power of role-play conversations with virtual humans to improve social, emotional, and physical health. Learn more at

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