Madison child care center uses an unconventional way of teaching that teachers say works

Published: Sep. 5, 2017 at 5:47 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) --- It's an unconventional way of teaching, and kids are getting started on the curriculum at a very young age.

The social-emotional program is called conscious discipline, and one Madison child care center is having success with it.

It's not uncommon for kids to start their day like this, but getting on the bus at State and Lake streets might not be the norm.

That's because this is not your average school bus.

It's carrying children, sometimes as young as six weeks old, to The Playing Field.

It's a child care center in west Madison that teaches kids who are homeless right alongside kids with what they call more advantaged backgrounds.

"If we want to raise children that can work together and solve problems, we need to start actually having children work together and solve problems," Abbi Kruse, The Playing Field executive director, said.

She said the main way they help them solve problems is by using conscious discipline.

That means using every moment of conflict or upset to teach a new skill.

"They're going to learn their ABC's," lead teacher Sara Aspenson explained. "They're going to know their numbers, like, that's not going to be an issue. It's handling their emotions, handling the problems that life will throw at them. Now that they have these skills, 'I'm upset. I'm gonna take a breath. Now I can handle it and move on.' That's going to be huge for helping them deal with their issues in life."

The playing field is holding an event October 27 & 28 to teach you more about its conscious discipline program.

For more information, visit