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Learning to Manage Emotions

Pictured: Valentin and his friends, L-R: Kenneth, Derek (ECEAP Assistant Teacher), Valentin, Hector, Juan; Inset: Valentin and his mother, Mariana

Valentin joined Innovative’s Early Learning program just one year ago, after being expelled from two daycare centers due to behavior concerns and his tendency to be aggressive toward other children. Valentin’s mother, Mariana, enrolled him in Innovative’s Early Learning program hoping that Innovative might give her son another chance.

Whisper, Valentin’s teacher, and Judy, Family Support Specialist, gave Mariana resources to help with her son’s behavior, which they determined was likely caused by trauma in their family.“We worked with Mariana really closely to get down to the root of it,” Whisper said. Valentin would sometimes have up to ten incident reports per day. Valentin inspired Whisper to implement the Kindness Curriculum in her classroom, knowing that it might help him understand and regulate his own behavior. The program is designed to teach children about empathy and how to manage their own emotions. It helps children build character and then gives them the skills they need to help them grow into happy, caring, and productive adults. She saw a huge improvement in his behavior and attitude after just a few weeks of the curriculum, noting that he was better able to communicate his emotions, rather than acting out.

Innovative’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Lori Moorehead, has been working with Valentin and his family to identify what might be causing his impulse control concerns. She’s working to assess and document his tendencies as he prepares to graduate to kindergarten. Innovative’s staff wants to ensure that his behavior concerns don’t limit where he can attend school next year. “We want to be sure that he and his family have all the supports in place for his best outcome,” Lori shared.

Our Early Learning program has a non-expulsion policy, which means children like Valentin and their families get the support they need to help their child be successful in school. “The teachers just know him so well,” Judy said. “It’s much easier to redirect his behavior than it used to be. He’s genuinely happy now.” Mariana couldn’t be more grateful for the support and patience of the Early Learning staff, noting the improvement she’s seen in her son’s behavior, just in the last year.

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