begin to ECSEL™

“The emotional, cognitive, social early learning program, Begin to ECSEL™, that Dr. Housman has created is one of the best philosophies you will find in early education.”
– Beginnings Early Childhood Educator, Kim


Housman Institute's program, begin to ECSEL is an emotional, cognitive and social early learning program that is based on rigorous scientific research on child development and the role of emotions in shaping behavior, learning and brain development. The evidence-based program helps children develop the capacity to constructively express, effectively deal with, and successfully manage inevitable frustrations, distresses and anxieties – creating pathways for optimal learning. By learning to effectively express, deal with and manage heightened emotions - both their own and others, children become not only better problem solvers and better learners, but they also become more confident and resilient . Begin to ECSEL™ is distinct because it uses these emotional interactions as learning opportunities.


Core components of begin to ECSEL™:

Children are born ready to learn. Beginnings School starts teaching emotional competencies to infants as young as three months old. Based on a child’s development, begin to ECSEL™ incorporates the appropriate techniques and tools for promoting the building blocks of emotional intelligence, or what is commonly called emotional competence, as well as associated emotional, cognitive and social skills such as self-regulation, empathy and prosocial skills. This approach to children's development and growth is integrated into our existing daily and robust developmentally appropriate curricula.

Children learn through lived emotional experiences
Children learn through lived emotional experiences. Pride, frustration, joy and other feelings are inevitable in children's development and learning, and scientific research shows us that each of our early emotional experiences makes an impression on the developing architecture of the brain. Addressing issues and helping children to learn productive modes of expression and conflict resolution in the heat of the moment is therefore not only key in promoting emotional competence but also in supporting our ability to problem solve, work with our peers, be empathic, and to self-regulate as well as help support the development of many other emotional, cognitive and social early learning skills so critical for our lifelong success and mental health.
Extensive teacher training is key
Extensive teacher training is key. Beginnings School teachers undergo training in begin to ECSEL™ as well as training in how to teach our enriched and developmentally appropriate curricula. Infant/Toddler and Preschool/Kindergarten teams meet weekly for ongoing professional development sessions, covering topics including family systems theory, child development, developmental disorders and plans to build upon emotional competencies of both the teacher as socializer as well as the developing child. Teachers also analyze and discuss classroom learning environment along with children’s learning behaviors.
Lessons learned in the classroom must be reinforced at home. Understanding that children develop within the context of a relationship, parents of Beginnings School children are also invited to participate in sessions designed to help them understand their own emotional responses, learn how to better model appropriate behavior and utilize some of the tools children learn about in the Beginnings School classrooms at home.

Unique, developmentally appropriate tools build emotional competence. The begin to ECSEL™ program incorporates a set of tools designed to help children develop core emotional competency skills on their pathway to developing self-regulation and other emotional, cognitive and social early learning skills and competencies. These emotional competencies start with being able to identify and label their own emotions, move on to understanding cause and effect relationships between emotions and behavior, and eventually include finding constructive ways to resolve interpersonal issues. These tools are introduced at developmentally appropriate stages and integrated into our daily curricula.