Mental health for teachers and parents has overwhelming challenges. The first vital question is how do you relate with children who have such different skills? Are you ready for a solution where… isolation, holds and constant power struggles become non-existent? I’m Kim Jackson. I teach Title 1 and Pre-K. My name’s Elizabeth Montero-Cefalo and I am a certified Conscious Discipline
instructor. We have children in this classroom who
have significant mental health needs and I think that with the tools that we
have learned with Conscious Discipline that we have been able to teach some of these children that we have some
skills for building relationships and building connections that they would
have never had, had they not been in a classroom that is implementing Conscious
Discipline. We want to get Chris’s attention, so the safe way to get his attention is tap, say his name and wait for him to look. Say, “Chris.”
Chris. Wait for him to look. Try again. Say, “Chris.”
He looked. Say, “May I play?”
May I play? It worked. He said yes!
He said yes! And look! Your feelings changed. Your mouth is going up like this. In a Special Ed. classroom where there
are emotionally disturbed children, there are oftentimes restraints, where the children are actually held.
We don’t like to do that but it’s like a a last effort. Since we’ve been using the
Conscious Discipline there have been almost no restraints. We don’t feel like we’re forcing the kids anymore. We know that the brain seeks pattern and routine, and for children with autism they have to have structure. And
Conscious Discipline provides a way to have all of those structures and to put
them into place into your classroom. An individual schedule for a child within
the spectrum is fabulous but what if the next step on
the schedule is something that’s really not their first choice? The whole idea of
helping them handle that emotion when it comes up and
breathing through it is just an essential piece for children within
the spectrum. Conscious Discipline just make sense for
children and adults with mental health needs that
they’re able to take away that tool belt. They’re able to pull out
those tools whenever they need them. Self regulation, peace, understanding of feelings, not just
identifying feelings but also allowing feelings to come up so that children can
metabolize what that is all about, giving them tools
to handle when life does not go their way. Another
biggie with children ADD and ADHD is the use of two positive choices. There is so
much power in choice. You are giving them a choice but you’re
also guiding their choice.
It is not safe to use this. It could break the top of our light. Yes. So you can use this in the construction center, or you can use it on the carpet but you may not use it on the light table.
We don’t spend enough time teaching children how to build
relationships and how to build connections with one another. One child with autism, well, if they have
social-emotional issues and they’re surrounded with other
children with social-emotional issues, how do they blossom? So when there is inclusion there’s that
opportunity for children to learn social skills from
children who have got them. It’s a mentoring program. What they give,
they’re also strengthening in themselves. It’s a win-win situation for all children.
Sometimes people think you can’t do it with children because you got this
problem, or you have this child who has a problem. It’s not. You want those kinds of things
to happen so that you can teach these skills. I was with a child who has the mental
health diagnosis. One of the concerns that we have with this child is we have not been able to identify his
triggers, and the doctors also have not
been able to identify those things. He was completely calm at the time, all of a sudden he became angry and I
was the target. I was injured, I was on the floor and at
that moment in time all the other children in our school
family got up, we were actually in the meeting circle, in a class meeting, they got up from their safe spaces, where they
sit in meeting circle, they walked over to where I was, they
gathered around me in a circle and they began to breathe. And they continued to breathe for a
while, and then they begin to sing the Wish
You Well song. I was able to regain my composure. We were able to continue with our class
meeting, but they were downloading to me when I was unable to regulate
myself, because they have been taught that skill.
That is the kind of school family that has been built in this classroom where
Conscious Discipline is being implemented. It’s unbelievable. Conscious Discipline has a new playbook for mental health. Relationships, skill-building and structure will transform conflict into cooperation. Experience the power for yourself.