Fri, 28 Apr 2017 19:02:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 PD & Trauma Support article in CA Assoc. for Ed. of Young Children! Wed, 05 Apr 2017 17:49:42 +0000 Read more [+]



Enhancing Resilience in

Children Who Have Experienced Trauma


Laurie Prusso Hatch, MEd., CPDT, CPDPE


For those of us who work with children and their families, ours is the opportunity to touch lives, to heal lives, and to change lives. We will do this most effectively when we truly understand and, without judgment, criticism or blame, we guide, serve, wait patiently, and walk beside others through their journey in a spirit of support and encouragement. As we include and welcome all children in our programs, we will encounter some who have been exposed to abuse, neglect, and a variety of types of trauma.


The nurturing care of children is education. The two are not separate functions or actions. They are inseparably connected. The overarching essence of all work in the field of child development and education is nurturing relationships. We do not nurture strong relationships at the expense of enhancing learning, but because relationships can enhance learning. Effective, caring relationships lead behavior and learning. No other effort will be successful without the necessary safety, security and care that all human beings, and especially children, need. For children and families who struggle, this is especially true.


Conversely, if we focus on controlling behavior and the teaching and learning of content—standards and outcomes—in the absence of connection, support, worth, and collaborative community, many children will be left out of the learning process and the opportunities that exist in the world. If we focus only on academic teaching, we will miss the opportunity to cultivate real learners.


If we want to bring peace to the world we will have to begin with those who teach and rear the children.

Laurie Prusso


Trauma and Toxic Stress

Trauma is defined as severe or repeated exposure to harmful experiences without the support of caring adults that can cause toxic stress responses in children. These experiences, which can weaken the brain’s architecture, may leave children vulnerable to a range of health, learning, and behavior problems across their lifespan (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Rockville, STATE, 2014).


It is the stress system, in response to a threat or perceived threat that causes the long-term problems in our bodies.  This is how it works.


When you encounter a perceived threat — a large dog barks at you during your morning walk, for instance — your hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.

Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.

Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation and fear”  (Mayo Clinic Staff).

One of the results of trauma and toxic stress is the development of habitual reactive patterns of behaviors in the child. These behaviors are often created as protective responses, and help the child to lessen the painful emotions he would otherwise feel in response to threat and danger. This is referred to as hypervigilance. Because the early brain processes threat and emotion together, the neural system becomes highly sensitized to repeated events and becomes hypervigilant, or overly on guard—in a permanent state of high alert.


Children may develop reactivity that resembles the reaction to something very dangerous by becoming highly active, agitated, anxious, angry and enraged, and full of sadness (Szalavitz, 2010). Alternately, children may numb themselves and surrender or tune out, withdrawing from the event, realizing that they cannot escape.


These protective but socially ineffective behaviors represent reactivity, or the inability to assess a situation and respond with flexibility. Response flexibility is an element of and predictor of mental health. When we are safe and secure and an incident occurs, we can weigh the event’s likely effect on us, whether we are in danger or not, and consider multiple ways to respond. When we have a hypervigilant reactive system, everything is a threat and we do not have response flexibility.


In our work with children, we frequently tell children who overreact, “It was an accident. She just bumped into you,” and expect them to understand and manage their feelings and responses to the “bump.” But for children who have experienced abuse, neglect, ongoing uncertainty, and anxiety, there is no such thing as an accident.


What, then, shall we do in our work to touch the lives of children? Our task is to provide the protective factors and buffering relationships that will tap into children’s inherent ability to be and become resilient.



Resiliency is the ability of people who have been exposed to “high risk” conditions to develop social competence despite exposure to severe stress or neglect and to overcome the odds to lead successful lives (Sharp-Light, 2007).


The effects of trauma can be buffered, that is lessened, and even healed in the contexts of relationships and environments in which children receive the nurture, care, and respect that they need. Adults support the long-term healing and well being of children in our care when we demonstrate the patience, gentle responses, attuned and timely encouragement, and sincere and mature guidance that they need. Protective relationships buffer the effects of trauma and toxic stress because they diminish the need for children to become hypervigilant and reactive and because they show children another way to feel and act.


When adults provide safe, secure, predictable, and caring relationships and environments, we tap into the existing potential for the child to connect with us. When we connect with care two things happen: First, we do not activate the hypervigilant neural pathway and a dose of cortisol in the child’s brain; and second, we stimulate the alternate neural pathway that can become kindness, empathy, delay of gratification, and critical thinking. In short, when we fill our classrooms and homes with love and kindness, patience and joy, children learn those very attributes and the learning naturally follows.


Effective, nurturing relationships are at the forefront in working with children who have histories of traumatic experiences and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).  Loving, knowledgeable, and skilled adults providing rich and joyful experiences for children can and will make a difference.


Honor the Role of Development

Emotional self-regulation skills become evident in children’s behavior in a reliably predictable sequence. Most healthy children demonstrate skills consistent with what we would predict. For instance, one would predict that in a toddler classroom there will be a lot of noise, including screaming, impulsive acts—such as taking objects from one another—, biting (many but not all), hitting, and dirty diapers. Our understanding of the reliable sequence of development prepares us for these behaviors so that we do not interpret them as misbehavior.


In children who have experienced trauma, neglect, and/or abuse, the typical developmentally-constrained behaviors are often exaggerated and extend well beyond the predictable timeline. For instance, tantrums are seen mostly in toddlers and have diminished greatly by the time most children are three. For healthy, well-cared for children, tantrums rarely occur in the fourth year unless there is a situational provocation. It is not uncommon, however, for five-, six-, and even seven- and eight-year-olds who have reactive hypervigilant behaviors to continue to tantrum in response to perceived injustice and other types of threat.


While many of the typical behaviors that teachers confront are to be expected relative to the developmental rollout of self-regulation and cognitive skills, when four- or five-year-olds behave more like three-year-olds, it can be much more frustrating and difficult to deal with. We are inclined to say, “He knows better,” or, “She does this deliberately!”


The Role of Early Childhood Professionals in Building Resilience

Early childhood is the time to recognize the trauma children bring and to create rich, happy, joyful, exciting, and active learning experiences. Supported by caring relationships with teachers, the effects of earlier experiences can be decreased and friendships, happiness, and love can grow. This is our great calling, our opportunity to touch lives and help children heal.


Research, ideas, and programs abound, but what you really need to know is that in order to heal and grow, children need to be loved and nurtured. In order to learn, children need joyful spaces and things to discover and explore. Rigid rules, too many adult-directed and -controlled periods of time, or activities that do not support healing or learning prevent healing and learning. Developmentally-appropriate experiences and exciting learning places filled with many opportunities for mistakes will feel welcoming and safe to children. The emergence of emotional self-regulation and social skills occur where there are caring adults to help children feel safe and learn from mistakes. This is all that is needed.


Avoid Re-traumatization

The activation of the hypervigilant, reactive neural response system, supported by the stress response, is referred to as re-traumatization. This occurs when children are involved in incidents similar to the trauma they have previously experienced. In addition, those neural pathways are accessed and activated when emotional responses in the child are similar to the emotions that were triggered in previous stressful events. Adults may inadvertently initiate a child’s reactivity through some typical teacher reactions to behavior.


Although the early childhood field and virtually all teachers, supervisors and directors have been exposed to trainings related to effective relationships with children and effective and caring ways to deal with challenging behaviors, there are ineffective and hurtful strategies and methods that still appear in many classrooms. There is no place for these teacher behaviors in our educational settings. Adults may be triggered by a child’s behavior and resort to these reactions, which then re-traumatize or invite further reactive behavior from the child. Some of these adult behaviors are:


  • threatening the child;
  • telling the child that they will not be allowed to participate in some way such as withholding outdoor time, etc.;
  • removing the child from the group in angry, rejecting, or isolating ways (time-out);
  • sending the child to a higher authority who then reprimands and punishes them;
  • blaming and humiliating the child, especially in front of others; and
  • assuming that the child is at fault and is almost always at fault (blame).


There are many more adult behaviors that may re-traumatize a child. As a rule, if the adult is impatient, frustrated, or angry, if the adult behavior is reactive rather than responsive, they are triggering the stress response system in the child rather than helping the child access more helpful neural systems. What we know about these interactions is that the child’s behavior does not improve and that children treated this way become hostile, resentful, and increasingly defiant.


To be clear, doing away with punishment and negative punishment does not mean that children do not learn to recognize mistakes and become increasingly responsible. In fact, they are more likely to take responsibility when they feel safe and know you will help them recover. We do not “let them get away with it” when we work with them to understand what happened, care for their brains, listen to and clarify other’s perspectives, and teach them more effective ways to get along.  The kind of consequence is called a solution. The process builds critical thinking and social skills and is effective long term.


One of the most helpful concepts for adults to understand is the negative impact of blame. When there is a conflict or simply a mistaken behavior, we often move in to provide a consequence or punishment to the child who is to blame—the child who is at fault. “Who did this?” we ask. This puts us in an adversarial attitude and immediately interferes with our ability to have response flexibility and to support children in creating solutions, friendships, and engaging meaningfully in their learning. This is a representation of our own trigger.


Blame is our desire to stop the discomfort we experience from our own feelings; frustration, annoyance, interruption, anger, or any other emotion that has been triggered in us, by putting that discomfort on another (Brown, 2012). It is not helpful in the early childhood classroom or in any relational context. Blame allows us to believe that because someone made a mistake, we have the right to be disrespectful, invalidating, and/or hurtful in response. While adults do not like it when children are hurtful, say mean things, or reject other children, in many early childhood classrooms adults may be observed doing just those things. Our own pain and early experiences are triggered and our behavior is reactive.


The stress response and emission of cortisol is immediately triggered when children feel blamed, but it is especially troubling for a previously traumatized child who reverts to the hypervigilant reactive system and is likely to become defiant, explosive, angry, anxious, and unpredictable. When the child is reactive, their outbursts, invited by the threat, are intense, and the stress response strengthens the hypervigilant reactive system again.


When approaching a mistaken behavior or a conflict between children, it is important to be calm and to help children become calm. Our intention is to be curious and sincere about listening to children tell their stories of what happened, validating all, and then finding solutions. It is not effective to place blame, find fault, and punish. I have seen many intentional, effective teachers model caring guidance and skilled listening in response to children’s behavior.


Avoid negative consequences and all types of rewards or punishment in your classrooms and programs, replacing them with nurturing support, lots of listening and understanding, and powerful, helpful solutions. Solutions make things better, strengthen effective relationships, support friendships and improved behavior, and enhance learning. Punishment, rewards, and negative consequences make things worse, promote a sense of suspicion, competition, blame and insecurity, interfere with cooperation and friendships, and predict diminished learning.


When we use negative consequences, we threaten the connection between the child and ourselves and further discourage him, moving him away from the desired behavior. Instead of looking for blame, believing that the child needs to “pay for” their mistake, and applying negative consequences, we can learn how to connect, communicate, and work with the child to discover solutions.


Trauma-Informed Care

Trauma- Informed Care has been developed in order to support the healing of hurting children in our classrooms.  As we learned when we got better at supporting children with special needs, these skills, attitudes, and tools are better for all children.  Based on a set of ideas, principles, and guidelines, the actions of adults become responsive and flexible, thus better meeting the needs of each child.


Principles and Elements of Trauma-Informed Care

 In consideration of the principles of trauma-informed care, an adult caregiver:

  • considers and understands what has happened (and what has not happened) to a person;
  • recognizes the pervasive nature of trauma and the absence of emotional support and opportunities for learning appropriate behavior and skills;
  • relates to and understands the complex nature and effects of trauma on children’s behavior and learning;
  • creates and protects a sense of safety;
  • builds relationships of trust;
  • provides the development of personal power by creating choices;
  • enhances children’s ability to collaborate; and
  • empowers children in relationships and environments that value long-term development and learning.


(The Trauma-Informed Community Initiative (TICI) of Western New York and members of the Health Leadership Fellows Program Cohort V, 2016)


Once we know what children need, it becomes our desire and our obligation to provide that for them. Adult behaviors, in recognition of the effects of trauma on young children, are more reflective of the effective, nurturing, guiding responses that all children need and deserve.


Effective adult behaviors

  • Every adult is respectful every time!
  • Teachers see their role as supportive and being as effective as possible in caring for and teaching ALL children.
  • Teachers recognize that they ARE that ONE caring adult who will enhance a child’s resilience.
  • Administrators understand Trauma and provide training and emotional supports for teachers and staff in meeting the needs of children.
  • Effective, caring, nurturing guidance and teaching replace behaviorist strategies such as, rewards and punishment, stickers and stars, pull-cards etc. (For alternative approaches, I recommend Positive Discipline © for Child Care Providers, by Jane Nelsen.)
  • Coherent, attuned, listening, and effective problem solving are used to support a caring learning culture and to diminish hypervigilance and reactivity.


Appreciating Conflict as Opportunities to Teach and Heal

Intuitive and intentional teachers recognize that a situation that seems like a conflict is often the way children are trying to get their needs met. Conflict is an opportunity to guide children through the model for learning more effective ways to get along. Aggression is the name we give to behavior we see when children are provoked and their brain defers to the “fight” (or flight) reactive system. When we rush in and redirect or place blame, we miss the entire opportunity to teach listening skills, advocacy and personal power, empathy and perspective taking, and problem solving. These are the very skills that we all need to improve upon, but children who have experienced trauma will need extra help in this arena.


Your first job is to calm yourself and your second job is to help the children find their calm. This may mean positioning yourself in a non-threatening way (getting down to the child’s eye level) and speaking in a way that promotes safety. No blame, no anger, and no threatening are expressed, as these will trigger all children and put everyone on notice that you are angry and probably mean. Once everyone is calm, an objective comment to strengthen the safety can be made. “Wow. You are both crying and I heard some loud words over here. I wonder what happened. Can you tell me?”


When children speak, it is vital that we really listen and understand and let them know that we do understand. We do this by giving back to them a little of what they said. When everyone has been heard, we can invite solutions. Humor is the best tool here and when children say absurd things, you know they are relaxed and safe with you.


Here is a scenario that might invite a teacher to be reactive and disperse or redirect the children because they are arguing:


Three children entered the dramatic play area. They were initiating some pretend play and wanted to be firefighters. There were only two fire hats on the shelf. The children began to negotiate back and forth. Their voices got louder and louder, and they could not resolve this problem of limited resources. The teacher walked over to them calm and curious to help them learn. She sat on the floor with them and said, “Oh, there are three of you and only two fire hats. That is a problem.” She paused to assess their emotional states and proceeded with an invitation for them to tell what was going on. “Who can tell me what’s up here?” The children agreed with the first child’s assessment: “Well, there are more kids than hats!” The teacher queried with a sense of humor, “ Do you have any ideas?” It was apparent that they did not have any ideas yet, so she helped them mine for alternatives. “I wonder,” she said, “who else you might find where there are firefighters?” As they started to express their ideas, they became excited. “A police.” “An ambulance driver.” “A tow truck guy.” The ideas kept coming. One of the children said, “I’ll drive the tow truck.” The other two donned the fire hats and the play began. In this way, the children were able to remain friends, continue their play, solve a problem, feel safe and secure in their environment, and learn a life skill to use when there are limited resources.


Make a Difference

Childhood Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences seem to be everywhere we look today. The early childhood community has the opportunity to be a powerful source for effective and nurturing care and teaching that will make a difference in the lives of children and families. Skilled, intentional, caring teachers will take this chance, understand the problem, and recognize their role in the solutions.


All children deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. That is how they will become socially and emotionally healthy, well educated, and learn to contribute in our world. Children who have experienced trauma in their lives are especially vulnerable to typical school discipline policies and are re-traumatized by consequences, punishment, and any kind of criticism, rejection, blame, and/or humiliation. These types of adult reactions are harmful for all children and should be avoided. We can benefit from understanding the role of adult responses and the damage done by re-traumatization and how to avoid it in all of our interactions with all children.


Children who have experienced trauma present opportunities for us to discover and implement effective guidance and discipline policies that support all children and create caring communities in which they can learn and grow together. Children who have experienced trauma are the most likely to struggle in social situations and in the classroom, and the most likely to be punished for their behavior. This is called re-traumatization. Respectful and encouraging adult relationships are the key to helping children heal and to inviting them into the community of learners.


Teachers, administrators, and policy makers have to look critically at existing policies and turn away from those that don’t actually support children in learning better, doing better, getting better, and living better. When individual teachers, classroom environments, and school policies focus on inclusion, respectful relationships, problem solving, and creating caring communities, all children do better, learning improves, and classrooms and schools become real learning environments for all children.


Note: To get your ACEs score and find your resilience level, go to



Brown, B. (2012). Daring Greatly. New York, New York, USA: Gotham Books.


Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (US). Rockville, M. (2014). Understanding the Impact of Trauma. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services:


Hartzell, D. S. Parenting From the Inside Out. New York, New York, USA: Tarcher/Penguin.


Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). Stress Response. Retrieved January 19, 2017, from Mayo Clinic:


Sharp-Light, B. B. (2007). Resiliency in Action: Practical Ideas for Overcoming Risks and Building Strengths in Youth, Families, and Communities. (N. Henderson, Ed.) Ojai, CA, USA: Resiliency in Action.


Szalavitz, M. a. (2010). Born for Love. New York, New York, USA: Harper Collins.


The Trauma Informed Community Initiative (TICI) of Western New York and members of the Health Leadership Fellows Program Cohort V. (2016). TIC-White Paper. (W. N. State, Producer) Retrieved January 17, 2017, from White Paper for Trauma Informed Care:




Laurie Prusso Hatch is a retired professor of Child Development. Laurie earned her BA in Human Development and Master’s degrees in Education at CSU Hayward. The mother of six grown children, Laurie has years of experience in the educational system. She is a certified Positive Discipline © Trainer and Parent Educator and has worked in a variety of early childhood settings for thirty years. Laurie is a consultant and trainer and specializes in effective adult-child relationships, ACEs and Trauma, enhancing resilience, staff relationships, and creating caring communities of learners. She provides dynamic and humorous workshops, keynote addresses and trainings.   You can learn more about Laurie at her website,, or contact her directly at

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PD Founder Jane Nelsen Interviewed by University of WA on Foster Kids Wed, 11 Jan 2017 18:14:56 +0000 Hear Jane Nelsen talk about PD and basic principals with a special focus on foster parenting!  13 minutes, great overview of principals and a sweet acknowledgement for parents who love and raise our children in the foster system…


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Linda’s Tips for Easy Mornings, Homework Success and A Peaceful Family Fri, 26 Aug 2016 18:09:25 +0000 Read more [+]

Linda’s Tips for Easy Mornings, Homework Success and A Peaceful Family

By Linda Lambdin, Principal of Tierra Pacifica Charter School

If school mornings in your home are calm, peaceful and enjoyable. If it’s easy to get to school on time, if your children get themselves up and ready, always have their homework and never forget where their shoes are then you can stop reading right here. If however, mornings at your house are sometimes less than idyllic, here are some tips.

You and your children will be getting ready for school in basically the same way for at least 13 years. That means 2,340 mornings that can either be smooth and organized or filled with tears, stress and cajoling. If your routine takes 20 minutes longer a day than it needs to that is 60 hours a year (about 2 school weeks) wasted that could have been spent doing something fun. If you have to prompt your child through the 25 steps process of getting out the door you may want to pull your hair out some mornings and that is not a good way to start the day.
These routines are worth putting time into up front. Put aside some real time to plan in detail how to make everything as efficient and simple as possible. Practice, and soon you will find that life has gotten a lot simpler because your kids will be capable and organized and you will no longer have to be running the show.

brushing routines

1. Making the morning work.
· Arrange your child’s bedroom so that they can get completely dressed, and ready without moving their feet more than a step or two. Put the laundry basket in the same area as all of their clothes, shoes, socks and underwear and mirror if they have one. This may mean moving the dresser next to the closet.
· Make a poster (or print out the one below) that lists in order exactly what they need to do in the morning and a different poster for what they need to do at night. The morning one might say…Use the bathroom, wash face, brush teeth, comb hair, dress including shoes, eat breakfast, make bed, put lunch in backpack, put on coat, Place backpack and yourself in car by 7:55 AM. (That’s a lot to remember isn’t it?! That’s why you make a poster with a list.)
· Hang copies of the posters where they dress, in the bathroom and by the front door. (For pre-readers the poster can be stick drawings or snazzy photos of them doing the things.)
· Make a different poster for night. Shower, brush teeth, clothes in hamper, PJ’s on, clothes picked out for tomorrow, shoes where they belong, in bed reading by 7:30. (Sample posters are under this article.)
· If your child needs one, buy them an alarm clock. If you’re like me and really
struggle in the winter mornings and you hate alarm clocks, you can invest in a
special timer plug. They are sold on line and they make a lamp slowly become
brighter so it’s like waking up with the sun. It’s pricey though – and a cheap
alarm clock works fine.

2.Keeping track of things – the Zen Backpack.
· Get a backpack and a Sharpie and write your child’s name on their backpack,
lunchbox, and their hats and in all their sweatshirts, coats and sweaters.
· Keep the backpack organized by keeping nothing extra in it. Make it a rule that
you may not buy or put anything other than the bare necessities in the
backpack- even though Staples says you NEED all those school supplies. The
same is true for a notebook if your teacher says you need one. Do not fill it up
with staplers, paper and post – its. Keep it as light and empty as possible. Only
carry what the teacher says should be carried.
· Get a good pencil sharpener that will last for years. Install it near the
homework spot. Keep dozens of pencils with good erasers in a drawer nearby
to use throughout the year. But practice keeping track of one pencil.

3. Homework that makes it to school
· Create a specific place for the backpack and coat near a place where
homework is done.
· Hang a poster there that says-When You Get Home -empty trash and lunch
out of backpack, do homework, pack backpack for the next day, hang
backpack in it’s spot, feed the dog, set the table, play outside. (In whatever
order works for your family of course.)
· Role-play taking out homework and working in the homework spot, then putting
all books (remember no extra ones) and homework in the backpack
immediately after using them and putting the backpack in it’s special spot.

4. Rehearse and practice each of these routines several times so your child already
knows the routines once the pressure of school starts. Practice through play-acting how
to read the lists and mime the routines. Make it fun. Have family members do it right
and note all they did right. Then have them pretend to do things inefficiently or wrong.
(You know… underpants on the floor, going to breakfast with PJ pants on, leaving
homework under the table.) Talk and laugh about what was wrong and how long it will
take if things are that mixed up. Then do it correctly again until everyone really has the
routine of following the lists without prompting.

5. When you need to prompt in the morning, just say, “Look at your list!” Wait, and
then congratulate them when they start to do the next thing on the list.

6.Schedule family meeting times throughout the year in which you brainstorm ways to
simplify these routines or modify the posters even more so that you can shave even
more time.

7. Remember to congratulate and reward yourselves. As these habits become more
automatic your children are receiving two precious long-term gifts: self-reliance and the
security of knowing that they are needed because their family functions like a team.
Oh by the way – if you think you don’t have time to create posters, move furniture and
practice routines and you don’t mind yelling in the morning and searching for shoes…
no problem. I was a single mom and didn’t have time for it either. I’m only letting you
know because, according to my calculations, by the time my son Tyler left for college,
he and I had spent the equivalent of a full school year searching for socks.

Finally, buying lots of socks all the same color helps!

Sample Lists – add pictures for young kids or for fun.
Morning List
· Use the Bathroom
· Wash Face
· Brush Teeth
· Comb Hair
· Dress
· Shoes
· Eat Breakfast
· Make bed
· Put Lunch in Backpack
· Put on Coat
· Place Backpack and Yourself in Car by 8:15
Night List
· Shower
· Brush Teeth
· Clothes in Hamper
· PJ’s on
· Clothes Picked out for Tomorrow
· Shoes Where they Belong
· In Bed Reading by 7:30
When You Get Home List
· Empty Trash and Lunch Out of Backpack
· Eat Snack
· Play
· Do homework
· Pack Backpack for the Next Day
· Hang Backpack and Coat in their Place
· Set the Table
· Say a specific thank you to a family member

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PDCR named as Pioneer in Children’s Well Being! Tue, 26 Jul 2016 02:18:59 +0000 What an honor that we have been named by Ashoka and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a Pioneer in Children’s Well-Being.  Check out their twitter chat on August 3 10 to 11 am PST with leaders in the field!!!



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Harbor High Boosters Film Event: The Mask You Live In! Tue, 22 Mar 2016 22:44:01 +0000 Read more [+]

the-mask-you-live-in ad

The Mask You Live In Screening and Panel, hosted by Harbor High School Parent Booster Club 
Wednesday, March 30 at 7 pm at the Harbor High School Little Theatre

This film explores boys’ struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinityIn the film, experts in neuroscience, psychology, sociology, sports, education, and media weigh in, presenting empirical evidence of what some are calling the “boy crisis” and offering tactics to combat it.

The Mask You Live In ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.  We encourage parents and their high school aged child to attend. It can begin vital discussions on how we teach gender for both boys and girls.

We will be providing Spanish translation.  This film is free and we encourage you to reserve a spot at this link

The Mask flyer here or The Mask Spanish flyer here

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Gratitude for Dr. McVittie and Partners in Ed Day and Med Day workshops! Thu, 07 Jan 2016 17:57:39 +0000 Read more [+]

Happy New Year!  We are jumping into 2016 with some fresh energy for Positive Discipline in Schools, given the enthusiastic feedback from Dr. Jody McVittie’s December 1 & 2 workshops:

“Great presentation, lots of valuable information about discipline through a lens of trauma.”

“I learned a great deal, especially thought-provoking when thinking about our system and adults’ roles in it.”

“It would be helpful to have community of practice amongst educators doing PD in Santa Cruz County!”

“This gave me a new way to look at our ‘problem’ students.”

“Thoughtful, empowering presentation”  – Michelle McKinny, Happy Valley Elementary School District

“Thank you!  It’s very hard and challenging work – and lives are at stake!  Thank you!”  – Kyle Griffith, Valencia School  

We appreciate everyone who came out to our seven education and medical workshops in the Bay Area with Dr. McVittie!  Contact us soon if you want to schedule a PD training this year.  We look forward to partnering with you for more thriving children, families and communities.

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Program Photos and Updates, San Diego and China connections! Wed, 09 Sep 2015 16:39:13 +0000 Read more [+]

Whew, another quarter of amazing programs and powerful community impact, both regionally and abroad in the Positive Discipline Community!!!  Check out our report from the September Friends, Advisors and Board gathering (everyone is welcome to attend those 4x/year meetings), presented by our lead trainer and PDCR President, Jane Weed-Pomerantz.  It includes collaborations and connections made in San Diego at the PDA conference and a Special Needs workshop with 23 delegates from China!  Check out the slide show here, call us if you want to partner up too!


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Fun Summer Activities: STEP by STEP Children’s Cook Book! Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:47:46 +0000 Our amazing board member Madhu Lodha who teaches Early Childhood Education has graciously shared her cookbook with the PDCR Community.  So many yummy recipes for your summer enjoyment, check it out and forward to friends!

STEP by STEP with Kids Cookbook-2015

kids-eating with mom




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Foster Family Orientations July 1 and August 5, help provide stable homes for children and teens Wed, 24 Jun 2015 17:30:14 +0000 Read more [+]

Our Kids Need Safe, Loving Homes!

  • Be a foster or adoptive parent to an infant, child or teen.
  • We need loving, stable families to care for children of all ages.
  • There is a particular need for families willing and able to provide safe homes for LGBT foster youth.
  • Getting licensed to become a Foster or Adoptive parent is easier than you think!
  • To learn more, please join us for an orientation meeting. We will talk about who our kids are, how they come into the foster care system, and how anyone interested can become licensed to foster or adopt.
  • Wednesday July 1st   2015        6-8 PM
  • Wednesday August 5th 2015        6-8 PM

For more information please call Consuelo Chavarria at: (831)345-2700

or visit


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Exciting End of Year Report! Tue, 23 Jun 2015 17:26:24 +0000 Read more [+]

PDCR is evolving into its next stage of growth and impact!  Latest news as we near end of June:

– welcoming Madhu Lodha, long-time instructor in Cabrillo College’s Early Childhood Education dept., as a new board member

madhu lodha PDCR board

– inspiring program wrap up report with photos and highlights, check it out here

– unprecedented expansion of Positive Discipline in the Classroom with partners Pajaro Valley Unified School District and Santa Cruz City School District and many school sites

– deepening of our Lifestyles work and collaborating with clinical practitioners for health and wellness with our families, particularly through our Routines class curriculum developed with Healthier Kids Foundation

– movement building continuing forth in restorative justice, with Live Oak Community Resources, and being part of initiatives like the Children’s Network, Go for Health!, and Santa Cruz Trauma Consortium

Thank you for another amazing year to our Board, Friends, Advisors, and the multitude of community partners!!!


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