EATON — Preble County Educational Service Center (ESC) Preschool held an all-day conscious discipline presentation for staff on Monday, Nov. 25.
According to Preschool Supervisor Debby Barnett, conscious discipline is a social-emotional program they’ve been implementing in their preschool classroom for the past five years. The presentation on Monday was meant to introduce conscious discipline to staff with the ED (Emotional Disability) and MD (Multiple Disability) programs.
“We want them to take these tools and implement them in their classrooms as well,” Barnett said.
Preschool ECE Teacher Tyra Douglas explained conscious discipline, “It is a social-emotional K-12 curriculum that helps teach students self-regulation and how to control and express their emotions appropriately.
“When a kid gets overwhelmed or angry and they don’t know how to handle the situation — not all kids come in with the appropriate words — this gives them tools to express themselves appropriately and that will help them maintain relationship with everyone around them.”
Preble County ESC in all of its programming works with at-risk and kids with disabilities. This is why Barnett thought it would be important to teach all programs about conscious discipline – to give them another set of “tools” to help children learn.
“We’re seeing a shift in our student populations, so we’re seeing kids who experience more trauma, kids who have learning issues, or ADHD, they’re wired differently — traditional methods of discipline do not always work with these populations. This is the main population the ESC works with. We work with the at-risk kids and kids with disabilities,” Barnett said.
“We thought it was important for our staff to know these concepts, because we thought they’re really good tools to know. This expands the tools in their tool belts so they have a variety of approaches and techniques.”
Douglas and Barnett began the day by speaking about how they got involved in conscious discipline and the progress they’ve seen. Douglas explained, while behaviors do not go away, they do decrease and teach children tools to apply throughout their lives to handle their emotions appropriately.
“The power behind conscious discipline is it changes the way you think about behavior. You see it in a different light and then you use some of these tools from the structures that concious discipline offers to make a difference in the classroom. It’s a definite shift in the way you traditionally think about behavior,” Barnett said.
During the presentation, one of the quotes shared was, “They’re not giving you a hard time, they’re having a hard time.”
This is the kind of thinking conscious discipline encourages from both teachers and students.
Barnett added, “One of the most significant things you can do to help a child learn is to make them feel safe, establish a relationship with them – that is one of the most basic things a kid needs to learn.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH