“The approach of Emotional, Cognitive, Social Early Learning (ECSEL) that Dr. Housman has created is one of the best philosophies you will find in early education.”
– Beginnings Early Childhood Educator, Kim

ECSEL (Emotional Cognitive Social Early Learning) is based on rigorous scientific research on child development and the role of emotions in shaping behavior, learning and brain development. ECSEL helps children develop the capacity to constructively express, effectively deal with and successfully manage inevitable frustrations, distresses and anxieties – creating the pathways of optimal learning.

This builds confidence, resiliency and understanding of how to successfully manage emotions. ECSEL is distinct because it uses real time in emotional interactions – in the heat of the moment – as learning opportunities.


Core components of 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, ECSEL incorporates the appropriate techniques and tools for building emotional competencies and self-regulation.


Children learn through lived emotional experiences. Every emotional experience makes an impression on the developing architecture of the brain. Addressing issues and helping children learn alternative modes of expression and conflict resolution in the heat of the moment is key in promoting emotional competence. Beginnings is the only early childhood education program, starting in the 0-3 year old age group, that takes this approach.

Extensive teacher training is key. Beginnings School teachers undergo intensive training in the ECSEL curriculum. 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. ECSEL incorporates a set of tools designed to help children develop core emotional competency skills on their pathway to developing self-regulation. These 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, unique to ECSEL, are introduced at developmentally appropriate stages and can be used throughout childhood and beyond.