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Lauderdale County School System's Early Childhood Teachers Participate in Conscious Discipline Training


Kindergarten through third grade teachers from the Lauderdale County School System attended Conscious Discipline training. The presenter for the training was Joy Winchester, Early Childhood Family Specialist, Early Learning Best Practices Coordinator, and ASSIST Team Director with theAlabama Department of Early Childhood Education.

Conscious Discipline is an evidence-based, trauma-informed approach. It is recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's (SAMHSA's) National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), and received high ratings in 8 of 10 categories in a Harvard analysis of the nation's top 25 social-emotional learning programs. The Harvard study's authors say, "Conscious Discipline provides an array of behavior management strategies and classroom structures that teachers can use to turn everyday situations into learning opportunities." (www.consciousdiscipline.com)

"Teachers who attended the training session were presented the science behind how children - and, all individuals - move through the survival, emotional, and executive brain states. Children must pass through two brain states before learning can occur. They must pass through the survival state (I am safe) and the emotional state (I am loved and connected) to the executive state. Teachers were presented with a menu of strategies that when used effectively may help move students to the executive brain state where they can self-regulate their behavior and have a clear, open mind to learning. This approach to behavior management (i.e., discipline) is not about a quick-fix but more about students learning to think through their actions and consequences to become problem solvers. It is built on the premise that all students must know that there are boundaries and that they are safe and loved before they can learn." Dr. Amy Jones, Director of Elementary Curriculum and Instruction.

After the training, participating teachers were surveyed regarding the helpfulness of the training, and the responses were overwhelmingly positive. "Since the training I have already tried to start implementing strategies in my classroom. I feel like it will help my classroom management. It also helped me understand why some of my students may be behaving in the way they are in the classroom," said one participating first-grade teacher. When asked how they would use the approach in their classrooms, multiple teachers' comments were similar to this statement by a participating kindergarten teacher. "I will implement some of the strategies with my kids to help them take charge of their discipline, and I plan to be more assertive (and less passive) so they know exactly what is expected of them."

In a study published by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and funded by The Wallace Foundation, Conscious Discipline was found to be one of only three Socio-Emotional Learning (SEL) programs that focuses 75% or more of its content on Emotion/Behavior Regulation and Emotion Knowledge/Expression, and one of only 13 programs that focuses 50% or more its content on Interpersonal Skills. Conscious Discipline received high ratings in 8 of 10 categories. The study's authors say, "Conscious Discipline provides an array of behavior management strategies and classroom structures that teachers can use to turn everyday situations into learning opportunities."(www.consciousdiscipline.com)