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Conversations with Dr. Donna, News

The Need for Early Childhood Teacher Training

Dr. Donna Housman

I had the honor of running a workshop last week for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) at their annual professional development conference on the topic of training educators to teach self-regulation and the building blocks of emotional intelligence. The workshop underscored both how timely and how critical qualified, well-trained educators are in ensuring that our early childhood education programs succeed both at a local and national level.

Teaching children emotion regulation and self-regulation from birth helps develop the neural circuits for emotional intelligence, which are highly associated with executive function. Understanding the teacher’s role as socializer, addressing emotion in real time, and using age-appropriate tools are essential in teaching the emotional competencies necessary for developing emotional intelligence.

Some 120 educators and administrators attended my workshop and what most struck me was the number of attendees who approached me afterward to ask if I could provide similar training in their state. Their overwhelming interest in the ECSEL (Emotional Cognitive Social Emotional Learning) approach we employ at Beginnings School and in how we train our educators to deliver ECSEL was indicative of the growing recognition at both a state and national level of our need to put in place the requisite support to effectively provide the quality early childhood education that our country so needs.

As the first state to create a department of early education in 2005, Massachusetts is now expressing a similar interest. About ten days ago, the Boston Globe ran a story about House Speaker Bob DeLeo’s efforts around early childhood education. Speaker DeLeo is currently meeting with business leaders to develop a plan on how the state can not only increase access to early education but also improve its quality. A professionalized, well- trained workforce is key to ensuring that we, as a nation and as a state, provide our children the level of excellence that effective early childhood education demands, a need that at last is being given the recognition it deserves.

outreach, News, School Happenings

Red Nose Day Fun-Raiser at Beginnings

Elizabeth Wilcox

Beginnings children recently provided more than their two cents in worldwide efforts to help children who need it most.

The “Spark Room" purchased red noses for children to wear and bring home as part of the “Fun-Raiser” to provide children-in-need with basic necessities, such as meals, medicine, shelter, books, and glasses.

"Red Nose Day is in line with our overall philosophy at Beginnings and our social and emotional learning approach called ECSEL (Emotional, Cognitive, Social Early Learning). From day one, we strive to teach children to be empathetic and to understand the needs of others. We also stress the importance of community, both within our school and outside it,” said Spark Room teacher Linda Lee.

The children discussed basic needs that people have and how the purchase of those plastic noses helped in raising money to meet these basic needs. The children wore their red plastic noses with great delight in the classroom before bringing them home at the end of the day.

Red Nose Day is one of a number of outreach initiatives at Beginnings, a school for children aged three months to six years that enhances emotional and cognitive development through play, relationships, and hands-on, in-the-moment, learning.

Other recent initiatives at the school include Cradles-to-Crayon collections, supplies drives for food pantries and shelters, and holiday gift-giving initiatives.

Red Nose Day

News

Become A Part of The Discovery Nature Preserve

Elizabeth Wilcox

Initial work on our Discovery Nature Preserve is underway!

News

Beginnings Annual Art Auction and 30th Anniversary

Elizabeth Wilcox

Beginnings School is holding its Annual Art Auction and 30th Anniversary party. It will be a great event. Come to our celebration to:

  • Learn about and support our new Discovery Nature Preserve
  • Find out about exciting research around Social and Emotional Learning and the impact it has on your child’s success
  • Bid on great art work by renowned artists and Beginnings students
  • Or simply socialize with Beginnings friends, new and old!

Call 781-891-1011 for more information.

Parenting, News

How to Deal With Your Child’s Tantrum

Dr. Donna Housman

We’ve all been there – you’re in public and suddenly your child becomes uncontrollable. People are staring, store managers are whispering, and flight attendants are being complained to.

What can be done?

When people see an unruly child, the general response may be: “That kid is a brat” or “Lazy parents, why don’t they discipline their child?”

Well, tut-tut to the judgmental masses.

There is no degree for parenthood, no online certification or weekend crash-course for the soon-to-be parent. Raising children is difficult, and raising healthy, socially aware and well-behaved children is one of the great challenges of life.

In fact, parenthood is likely the hardest job you’ll ever do, and you don’t even get an intro YouTube video for it. But parenting strategies can help, even with a tempter tantrum. Below is an example of one common scenario of a troublesome tot and a four-step process to help you respond. Read it and then think through a similar approach to the situations below it. With practice, you too can learn how to better cope with those inevitable tantrums.

Situation: It’s the end of the day and you need to go grocery shopping, but your child is tired. Cranky and disagreeable, he starts crying and running around the aisles.

What you can do: Develop an alternative solution. At the heart of this temper tantrum is a clash of parent and child agendas. Instead of imposing your agenda – the need to finish shopping without tearing down the aisles – try following these steps:

  1. Describe the problem to your child and give reasons.

    “I don’t like what is going on – It’s disturbing to shoppers when children  run in the aisles.”

  1. Talk about your child’s feelings.

    “Tired, huh?”

  1. Involve your child in finding a solution.

    “It would be helpful if you picked out three big lemons for us.”

  1. Reinforce the lesson: When you next go shopping and your child wants to go with you, try the following dialogue:

    Child: “I want to go too!”

    Parent: “Not today.”

    Child: “Why not?”

    Parent: “You tell me why?” (Prompt for correct answer if necessary, but do not supply it wholesale.)

    Child: “Because I ran around the store?”

    Parent: “You guessed it. There will be plenty of other chances to go, but today I’m going by myself.”

Now think through the below two situations and come up with your own response, based on the above four-step process.

  • Your eldest child is having a birthday party at home. While opening presents, your younger child grabs the box and rips the paper off and throwing it around the room. What you can do?
  • While on a play date, your child demands to use the one swing, pulling it away from the other children. What you can do?

Remember, when raising toddlers, don’t forget to set limits. Limit setting is a parent’s best friend. The process of setting limits offers structure and teaches the connection between actions and consequences. When consistently followed, setting limits helps.

News

Parents Night Out!

Join us for Beginnings 2nd annual live student art auction on Saturday, April 12th at Galerie d'Orsay! Enjoy cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, music and conservation with fellow Beginnings' parents. The event begins at 6:00 pm. Please RSVP to Margaret .

News

December 4th

Empowered Parenting Lecture Series: Setting Limits with Our Children

Join fellow Beginnings' parents for an insightful discussion about parenting and child behavior. Dr. Housman will be discussing how limits are set with young children, whose very function in life seems to be pushing limits. How can parents encourage their kids to be curious while creating healthy boundaries?

Dr. Housman will be presenting strategies for working with your children to set limits and answering questions about your experiences.

Join us for social hour at 6:30. Wine and light hors d'oeuvres will be served. Presentation will follow at 7 p.m.

Past News & Events:

News

November 20th

Fall Conferences Begin: School Closes at 12:15 p.m.

News

November 13th

The Womens Group of Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Weston invited Dr. Donna Housman to speak about bullying and preventing bullying by arming children with emotional intelligence. Please view a clip of the seminar by following the link or visiting our blog: Stop Bullying Before it Starts

News

November 27th

Thanksgiving recess begins: school closes at 12:15 p.m. and reopens December 2nd

In the News

Dr Housman Speaks at Harvard Graduate School
On Saturday, April 21, Beginnings School and Housman Institute Founder Dr. Donna Housman spoke on...
Why Begin to…ECSEL Supports the Growth of Emotional Intelligence
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A Tribute to Dr. T. Berry Brazelton
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Day Care Center vs. Child Development Center
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Building Blocks at Beginnings
We were very much struck by this recent article in Forbes Magazine that addressed how people with...