Turtle Wing Foundation recently granted Lindsey Ahrens, owner and director of Clover Connection Child Development Center in Flatonia, a $500 mini-grant to assist in acquiring curriculum and supplies to implement Conscious Discipline at their center. The Conscious Discipline Brain State Model is a framework used to help staff understand the internal brain-body states that are most likely to produce certain behaviors in children and themselves. With this awareness, center employees learn to consciously manage their own thoughts and emotions so they can help children learn to do the same. The goal of this model is not to turn into neuroscientists, but to provide a simplified brain model as a means for increasing self-awareness so that staff can respond consciously to the needs of the moment.
Turtle Wing Foundation partners with the Schulenburg/Weimar Area Parents as Teachers program to provide support to regional daycares, preschools, and parents. The foundation of PAT’s programming focuses on the parent/guardian being their child’s first and most influential teacher. However, many children spend their most productive awake hours in childcare, not with their parents. The intent is to elevate these childcare centers from simply babysitting to creating developmental opportunities throughout the day in the everyday interactions that occur. They also have the unique opportunity to observe the children in their care grouped in with peers usually +/- 6 months in age. The caretaker may be the first to notice if a child is falling behind and not reaching their developmental milestones. With the right tools they can be trained to initiate discussion with the parent, help them obtain the assessments necessary and assist with the interventions put in place. ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) can even come to the childcare center. This full circle approach maximizes the child’s ability to maximize development of sensory pathways, language and higher cognitive function when the brain is most able to change and develop due to early intervention strategies. By also offering continuing education for parents, preschool teachers and daycare staff, this helps elevate the skill level of those tending to the children who are entrusted to the centers while their parents work. This saves time and money for the directors and their staff (living rural, training opportunities are often inconvenient and expensive), helps with staff retention as they are better suited to face the struggles of their workplace, and most importantly provides a more positive and enriching environment for the children who are the future of our rural communities.
Turtle Wing’s service area includes Colorado, Fayette, Lavaca and surrounding counties. Turtle Wing Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization which helps children with academic, social-emotional, behavioral and/or developmental needs. To learn more about Turtle Wing Foundation, contact Susie Shank at (979)505-5090, “like” their page on Facebook or visit www.turtlewingfoundation.org.
Photo: (L-R) Ysenia Centeno/PreK 2 teacher, Lindsay Ahrens/Owner, Susie Shank/Turtle Wing Foundation Managing Director, Nikki Hernandez/PreK 3 teacher