Seeing the Individual Child and Building Connections Using Conscious Discipline®


The most important part of operating any child care program is to create an environment that provides comfort and a sense of community. School Age programs are often run in shared spaces, and so the flexibility in the environment is not as feasible as it would be in a permanent space. This encourages staff to think about the materials and structures that they can bring in, and the learning opportunities that they can provide to help meet the needs of each child. Using structures from Conscious Discipline® has guided our program in creating an environment that everyone feels a part of, and the individual child is acknowledged and supported.

We believe it is essential to make a point of greeting each child by name. Most of the children will opt to give us a high five or fist pump with the greeting, and some children choose to have a no touch greeting. Whatever the child chooses, the emphasis is on personal acknowledgment and a recognition that we are happy they are here. When there are a larger number of children in our care, too often we can lose track of names or specific personal details of the children.

After being greeted, they all gather together and we take this opportunity to engage in community time. Community time is when the children come together to share experiences, events, etc with their peers and educators. When community time is over, each group collectively engages in Conscious Discipline® recommended stress reduction activities. The groups complete a Brain Smart Start, which is an activity that invites the children to eliminate stress through deep breathing and stretching. The Brain Smart Start in our center involves some yoga activities, riddle circles, and teacher led miming activities. All of our Brain Smart Start focuses on the children connecting with each other and the educators. When the Brain Smart Start is complete all groups have created commitments which they then can recite. The commitments allow the children to make positive affirmations to themselves and others, which help to keep the environment safe and inclusive.


These rituals re-center the children after a busy morning or a busy day at school. It allows them a moment of mindfulness and emotional awareness. The educators are then able to support and gauge where the children are in regards to stress levels, and support them in their need for positive connections. Using Conscious Discipline® recommended greeting rituals have allowed us to build stronger connections between the children and their peers, as well positive relationships with the educator and each individual child.

Krista Perry, B.A, R.E.C.E
Shoreline Early Learning Centre