Founded in 1985 by Dr. Donna Housman, a clinical psychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, Beginnings School welcomes children from 3 months to 6 years old to benefit from its unique ECSEL curriculum – enhancing emotional and cognitive development through play, relationships and hands-on in-the-moment learning.

Dr. Donna Housman developed the ECSEL curriculum based on rigorous scientific research to help children develop the capacity to constructively express, effectively deal with and successfully manage inevitable frustrations, distresses and anxieties – abilities that prepare children for optimal learning and lifelong success.

We believe:

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    Emotions are our universal first language. Teaching children how to acknowledge their feelings and regulate their emotions is critical to their social, moral and intellectual development.


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    The science of brain development has demonstrated powerful connections between children’s ability to regulate their own emotions and their cognitive development, including the development of parts of their brains responsible for rational decision-making.


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    Emotional and social development is a prerequisite to learning, as regulating emotions enables children to direct more energy towards listening, concentrating and problem solving – critical skills necessary for learning. On the other hand, dysregulation of emotion actually shuts down the parts of the brain necessary for learning.


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    Neuroscience not only shows that learning begins at birth, but also shows that the first three years of a child’s life are the most important in terms of emotional and cognitive development, as 90% of the brain is developed by age three.


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Our curriculum and programs help children at a very early age to understand and regulate emotions ‘in the heat of the moment’ when they are experiencing emotions strongly. It is critical for children to learn to manage challenging emotions such as frustration, anger or sadness, but also emotions like excitement and anticipation. By helping children learn to cope with intense feelings through positive experiences, neurological connections are strengthened to maximize brainpower. Children learn very early how to focus their energy on learning and playing cooperatively with their peers.