“Discipline is a life-long journey, not a technique!”
—Becky A. Bailey
Conscious Discipline is a comprehensive social and emotional intelligence classroom management program that empowers both teachers and students. Based upon current brain research, child development information, and developmentally appropriate practices, the goal of the program is to provide systematic changes in centers and schools by fostering the emotional intelligence of teachers first and children second.
A prescriptive “one size fits all” approach to discipline has not and will not work. Conscious Discipline offers a relationship-based community model of classroom management. The key is a sense of community, with the “school family” at the core of the program. The “school family” is held together through communication skills.
These skills are taught during conflict moments in the classroom and through active learning lessons. The goal of the “school family” is to create problem-solvers. Love, expressed through safety, cooperation and respect is the tool used to give the system power. As we seek meaningful relationships with one another, we must also learn skills of interaction that promote respect.
Seven Powers for Self Control
Self-control is not pretending to be calm in difficult moments. It is the ability to reach out and empathize with others, to accept and celebrate differences, to communicate feelings directly, to resolve conflicts in constructive ways, and to enjoy being contributing members of a community. It is the ability to embrace conflict as a teaching opportunity instead of viewing it as a disruption to learning.
- Power of Perception: No one can make you mad without your permission.
- Power of Unity: We are all in this together.
- Power of Attention: What you focus on, you get more of.
- Power of Free Will: The only person you can make change is yourself.
- Power of Love: See the best in others.
- Power of Acceptance: The moment is as it is.
- Power of Intention: Conflict is an opportunity to teach.
From the Seven Powers of Self Control emerge the Seven Basic Skills of Discipline. These are the only skills a teacher needs to constructively respond to any conflict in the classroom. These skills promote a peaceful inner state in children. In this state, children are free to learn, cooperate, and help each other to be successful.
The Seven Basic Skills of Discipline and the slogans that support them are:
Composure: Becoming the person you want children to be
Encouragement: Building a “school family”
Assertiveness: Saying “no” and being heard
Choices: Building self esteem and will power
Positive Intent: Creating teaching moments
Empathy: Handling the fussing and the fits
Consequences: Helping children learn from their mistakes
Teachers who draw upon the Seven Powers for Self Control and use the Seven Basic Skills of Discipline create a classroom climate that models the Seven Essential Life Values and teaches children Seven Basic Social Skills.
Seven Essential Life Values
Seven Basic Social Skills
Helpfulness (kindness, sharing)
*Excerpts taken from Conscious Discipline by Becky Bailey
For more information, see Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey
What is Social-Emotional Development?
The developmentally and culturally appropriate ability to:
- Manage emotions
- Relate to adults
- Relate to peers
- Feel good about self
Research has found that emotional and intellectual development cannot be separated. . . that these two functions come together as the child actively explores his environment at each developmental stage. Children are more likely to learn important cognitive skills when they are confident, can persist at tasks, and can engage in meaningful interactions with other children and adults.
The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) is focused upon promoting the social/emotional development and school readiness of young children birth to age 5. CSEFEL is a national resource center for disseminating research and evidence-based practices to early childhood programs across the country. As social/emotional competence increases in young children, most challenging behaviors dissolve.
CSEFEL research centers primarily upon the following:
- Creating nurturing and responsive relationships with children and families
- Providing high-quality supportive environments, schedules, and routines which meet the needs of all children, including those with disabilities
- Planning engaging social/emotional teaching activities: facilitating friendship skills, problem-solving, recognizing/expressing emotions appropriately
- Individualized intervention: identifying the function of challenging behavior and using a team approach to address it
Parents may enjoy the following free CSEFEL downloads:
- Teaching Your Child to Identify and Express Emotions (4 pages)
- Teaching Your Child to Cooperate with Requests (4 pages)
- Make the Most of Playtime (6 pages)
- Teaching Your Child About Feelings (5 pages)
- Teaching Your Child to Become Independent with Daily Routines (5 pages)
- Book List: to guide in checking-out or purchasing books about being a friend, accepting different kinds of friends, feelings, caring about others and empathy, problem-solving, self-confidence, good behavior expectations, family relationships, bullying/teasing, and grief and death
- Feelings Chart: to learn how to identify emotions