Last week, while scrolling through Facebook, I came upon a post from a great friend and colleague who frequently shares links to wonderfully informative articles and inspirational messages for teachers. This particular post linked to a blogger (also a teacher) who wrote a very powerful open letter to parents about “That Kid,” the kid who every parent identifies as the “bad” kid in their child’s class. These are the children that we (as teachers) don’t ever forget. They are the ones, who challenge everything we know, cause us to pause, think, and create new ways to reach them in the classroom.
This past November 11th (a week before I read this post), the Pine Village team, all 74 of us, gathered together for our annual conference. This year the conference, titled “Making Connections,” focused the emotional connections teachers need to make with every child in order to even begin to teach. It was a powerful day filled with techniques, inspiration and idea sharing, all with the intention of demonstrating ways that our staff can build relationships and make connections with each and every child in our classrooms.
At Pine Village we use a system called Conscious Discipline. Teachers receive annual trainings and on-site support from our in-house specialist, Janette Martinez, who has participated in hours of intensive trainings directly from Dr. Becky Bailey, the creator of Conscious Discipline.
Dr. Becky Bailey created Conscious Discipline after years in the fields of education and child psychology, and after years of research, observation and study. In a nutshell: “Conscious Discipline is a comprehensive social-emotional and classroom management program that uses everyday life events to teach children and adults self-control, conflict resolution, character development and social skills.” It utilizes daily classroom rituals, processes and props all designed to (help teachers) help children navigate through challenging social environments and situations. The idea is, if we can equip children with these tools at this early age, they will naturally take these tools with them for the rest of their lives and apply them to every social situation they encounter. We believe we do that!
We meet “that kid” every year, in many of our schools and classrooms. The biter, the hitter, the screamer, the scratcher, the one who just can’t stop crying, who plays alone or simply doesn’t know how to play. We LOVE these kids. These are the children who need to be understood. These are the kids who deserve to be in Pine Village, and in turn who we deserve to learn and grow with. These are the kids that need a Pine Village and a Pine Village community.
Yes, we are often asked “When are you going to kick that child out of school?”
Our answer is always, undeniably “Never”.
Read the open letter to parents: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/11/14/teacher-to-parents-about-that-kid-the-one-who-hits-disrupts-and-influences-your-kid/
Learn more about Conscious Discipline: