Connection. This is the most important concept in raising or educating a child. If your child doesn’t feel connected, loved, secure- they aren’t going to be in place where they are ready to learn. Our most important job at Ivy Hill Academy is to build a school family: building connections between the staff and children and between the children and their peers. This is where Conscious Discipline comes in. Conscious Discipline by Dr. Becky Bailey is a discipline structure with a brain-based model. We focus on coaching children to self-regulate in order to access their prefrontal lobe, which is required for problem solving. At Ivy Hill we believe the most integral part of this process is modeling. A child cannot access their critical thinking and problem solving skills on their own- they need to learn how. They need their adult caregivers to essentially loan them their prefrontal lobes. Conscious Discipline gives us a set of skills for the caregivers to model self-regulating behaviors as well as guiding children through their emotional upset.
Conscious Discipline is not just a part of our school day, rather an ongoing state of learning intertwined in everything that we do. We start each day with an activity to connect such as a special greeting or ritual, an activity to unite our school family, and an activity to disengage stress, such as deep breathing, which is something we practice in all classes. Our classrooms are equipped with the tools to help our students and teachers along their Conscious Discipline journey. We use I Love You Rituals as a way to build connections. These are fun games and rhymes that connect two or more people in a playful situation. We start this as early as our infant room; building strong connections with caregivers and encouraging eye contact and even early language skills!
Our behavior management style is positive discipline and statements, rather than any form of punishment. Positive statements tell a child what to do rather than what not to do, and they promote a more positive environment for learning and nurturing self-esteem. Children intrinsically want to please and serve others, and will almost always choose to do so when given the opportunity. By using encouragement as an incentive for behaving appropriately, we can build a child’s positive self-image and sense of individuality because we are placing the power in their hands.
Our goal is to create a positive environment to prevent discipline problems in the classrooms. We do so by providing a predictable routine with visuals, classroom jobs to be of service, using praise as motivator, and above all, modeling the behaviors and language we want our children to use!
While creating a positive environment will prevent some discipline problems, our staff is trained to handle problems as they occur. All staff members attend a thorough training on Conscious Discipline. We use redirection whenever possible, and should the need for child removal occur, each classroom is equipped with a Safe Place which will help the child to calm, label their emotion and work through it for acceptance and resolution.
Behavior issues are never dealt with using punishment. Conscious Discipline focuses on the child’s emotional state, and is never severe, humiliating, frightening, or associated with food, rest, or toileting. Any form of physical or corporal punishment is strictly prohibited.
We hope that we have given you enough information to understand the benefits of Conscious Discipline. We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have! We encourage you to take a moment to visit www.consciousdiscipline.com for more information and would love for you to take a moment to be inspired by the videos provided here!