Emotional intelligence

Early Childhood Education, Emotional Intelligence, News ECSEL4-1200x800-1

Why Begin to…ECSEL Supports the Growth of Emotional Intelligence

Dr. Donna Housman

Beginnings School and Child Development Center is steeped in the knowledge that emotional intelligence matters. A large body of research has shown that developing the skills associated with emotional intelligence can have a profound impact on academic, career and overall life success. Moreover, researchers in the field of child development and neuroscience have shown that a critical period of learning occurs during a child’s first three years and that those early years build the foundation for emotional intelligence—namely the ability to recognize, understand, constructively express, and regulate emotion.

Based on my decades’ long experience as a psychologist, educator, and parent, I developed the emotional, cognitive and social early learning approach, begin to…ECSEL that we teach here at Beginnings. This approach is informed by a significant body of neuroscientific research that shows that a child’s brain development is heavily dependent on a child’s early experiences. Given that the social-emotional and cognitive neurocircuitry is interrelated, the more we strengthen a young child’s social-emotional skills, the more we strengthen cognition and learning.

The begin to…ECSEL approach is predicated on the knowledge that a child develops in the context of a relationship. In the child’s early years, the primary caregivers (the parent and other significant adults in a young’s child’s life) are key to strengthening a child’s emotional, cognitive and social skills. Sensitive, attuned, and empathic caregivers can help children learn to identify, understand, constructively express, and regulate emotion, and through this process they can begin to help children develop associated competencies such as self-regulation and executive function skills so critical to children’s long-term success.

Begin to…ECSEL's uniqueness is in laying the foundation for this fundamental growth from birth. Our soon-to-be-published study evidences that after only one year in our program, children showed significant improvement in empathy, self-regulation, and the social and emotional skills that undergird emotional intelligence. The students also dramatically outperformed national norms on these key constructs.

At Beginnings, you can see our approach in practice. You also can learn more about the theoretical underpinnings of our approach in the article I wrote for The International Journal of Childcare and Education Policy



Early Childhood Education, Emotional Intelligence, News

Building Blocks at Beginnings

Elizabeth Wilcox

We were very much struck by this recent article in Forbes Magazine that addressed how people with emotional intelligence respond in times of high stress. What struck us is that the recommended success skills are exactly those we foster in young children at Beginnings School and Child Development Center as they develop the building blocks of Emotional Intelligence.

The article was written by top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council who offered their views on how an emotionally intelligent person reins in their emotions and “maintains their cool in times of stress.”

First among their observations: Come up with a cognitive and behavioral way to refocus energy when triggered.

Our children at Beginnings learn to do exactly that. They learn to recognize, identify, and understand how they’re feeling and then to regulate their emotions. We support them in the growth of these important skills through our evidence-based approach, begin to…ECSEL. Through it, we help children know how they feel and why, and then assist them in learning how to manage their emotions and those of others. We support the growth of these and many other foundational emotional, cognitive and social skills, such as conflict resolution and problem-solving. Some of these skills, it turns out, fall under what the Forbes Council collectively refers to as Workplace Intelligence which “represents our ability to collectively achieve results even in the most challenging time.”

Out of our approach also comes increased confidence. Children become empowered, knowing they can manage their emotions and work effectively with others. Parents whose children have been through our program tell us again and again that their children enter kindergarten well above their peers developmentally. “The Mayor of Kindergarten” was one way that a parent described his child based on his son’s ability to help, mediate, negotiate, and resolve conflict.

As one parent wrote to us several weeks ago: “Our son is thriving at his new school. His teachers love him and consistently express how impressed they are with his maturity, his ability to read and adapt to the needs and emotions of his classmates, his patience, and his ability to get along with everyone.”

We invite you to come into our school yourself and see just what makes our program so special and why our children, like those high EQ workers mentioned in the Forbes article, develop “the ability to communicate well, manage disputes, build and nurture relationships, and exhibit strong interpersonal skills.”

Email us at info@beginningsschool.com to schedule a tour.


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