In Newsweek's The Creativity Crisis, Po Pronson and Ashley Merryman reveal research showing that American creativity is declining for the first time. The decline is cited to be most serious for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Questions about what went wrong and how to fix it are posed in this article promoting the idea that ‘there is never one right answer - to be creative requires divergent thinking (generating many unique ideas) and then convergent thinking (combining those ideas into the best result).’ Dr. Donna Housman said, “This is what we are helping children to do all the time: at our Peace Table in asking children to look at alternative ways to resolve the problem and choose the best plan, in role play where children act out various roles and viewpoints, in science and block play where children are encouraged to question what they see and design according to their unique plan, and in learning to manage not only our own feelings, needs and actions, but also dealing with the feelings, needs and actions of others.” The article also cites neuroscientist Rex Jung who concluded that those who diligently practice creative activities learn to recruit their brains’ creative networks quicker and better. A lifetime of consistent habits gradually changes the neurological pattern. At Beginnings we believe that this process starts at infancy and laying the foundation is most critical during the first six years.
In the Wired Magazinecolumn The Frontal Cortex, Jonah Lehrer writes How Preschool Changes the Brain. In response Dr. Housman at Beginnings said, "This article and articles like this are very important. The information is powerful in terms of how important healthy emotional development is - even more than IQ, according to several studies. I don't happen to believe that one is very good without the other - both are important! This article is accurate in its research and analysis by Heckman, an economist and Nobel Laureate. This information started coming out several years ago supporting the importance for how emotional awareness is the engine behind control and how necessary it is for our kids to develop and become more emotionally smart - more emotionally aware."
Beginnings Child Development Center, in its commitment to providing excellence to children and families, will be launching a pioneering study at the school that further develops our longstanding dedication to fostering emotional intelligence in children. Beginnings will be launching a pilot study this coming year in further examining the process of the development of emotional intelligence in young children. Recently Beginnings attracted the attention of Dr. Kurt Fischer, the Charles Bigelow Professor of Education at Harvard University and Director of the Mind, Brain and Education program who said, " Beginnings School is uniquely focused on the emotional foundations of early development with a curriculum and educational practice grounded in relevant research about emotional development and learning." Beginnings was identified because of its 25 years of experience delivering high quality education through a unique curriculum that focuses on emotional intelligence as a critical component in attaining academic, social and personal success.
In response to today’s Boston Globe article “For Many, 'Mean Girl' Practice Starts Early”, Dr. Donna Housman of Beginnings Child Development Center in Weston reminds parents and educators of the importance of fostering emotional intelligence in children, listening and responding to their thoughts and feelings in their daily lives.
Beginnings Child Development Center earned its reaccreditation from NAEYC – the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals. “We’re proud to have earned the mark of quality from NAEYC, and to be recognized for our commitment to reaching the highest professional standards,” said Dr. Donna Housman, Founder and Executive Director of Beginnings. “NAEYC Accreditation lets families in our community know that children in our program are getting the best care and early learning experiences possible.” Download NAEYC Press Release
Dr. Donna Housman's response to the proposed anti-bullying legislation, a letter entitled Bullying: a Prescription for Prevention, appeared in The Boston Sunday Globe editorial section on Sunday, Nov. 22nd. In addition, Dr. Housman was asked to address this important topic during an interview with WBZ News Radio reporter Amy Cherry which aired the same day. As always, we are interested in hearing your thoughts and comments about issues that affect children and families.
On October 24, 2009, Beginnings announced the introduction of a new, full-day Senior Kindergarten. The program, which will focus on developing students' Social/Emotional Intelligence, Creative Play, Art Appreciation, Readiness Skills, and Kinesthetic Learning, is known as "SPARK". Children age five as of September 1st will have the opportunity to enroll in the Senior Kindergarten program which will begin in September 2010.