Florida Association for the Education of Young Children
September 2019, Orlando - Florida
MNP director Patricia Léon together with educator and MNP mentor Katja von Elbe presented Unlearning Together: Integrating Conscious Discipline in Our Forest School Family at the Florida Association for the Education of Young Children’s annual conference in Orlando. Under Katja’s guidance, MNP has been using Conscious Discipline to model skills and empower children to regulate themselves. At the conference, Katja and Patricia shared resources we have found helpful during our continuing journey as an urban nature school integrating Conscious Discipline in our Parent and Child groups and Forest Kindergarten.
In our outdoor program, children are provided with uninterrupted exploration and supported play. Friends are encouraged to “work things out”, often revealing the power dynamics and role-play learned in other educational and social settings. As outdoor educators, we carry field guides, tools, and first-aid to be ready for questions, projects, bumps and scrapes. We also carry a social-emotional backpack of understanding, habits and attitudes from which we respond to issues and conflicts among children. As mentors, we must determine the values and skills we model and teach daily to empower children to regulate themselves, handle difficult feelings and communicate with others. Conscious Discipline provides internal self-management for parents and teachers with the Seven Powers—helpful beliefs or ways of thinking and the Seven Skills—related actions and language to guide behavior with love and respect.