(FEBRUARY 2020) The Conscious Discipline Parent Education Curriculum (CD PEC) has been designated “research-based” by a team of independent reviewers. The new designation is listed in the Office of Head Start’s parenting curricula database.

Since 2017, The Office of Head Start (OHS) has required Head Start programs to offer a parent curriculum. OHS provides requirements and regulations for parent curricula. With the research-based designation, Conscious Discipline’s Parent Education Curriculum fulfills the criteria outlined by OHS. 

Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor Sue Dierks said, “The research-based SEL designation is significant because it meets the criteria established by the Office of Head Start for selecting a parenting curriculum. The designation also proves the effectiveness of the parenting curriculum.  Research demonstrated that parents’ perspectives changed and new skills were developed, which led to improved parent-child relationships and decreased child behavior problems.”

About Conscious Discipline’s Research-Based SEL Parent Education Curriculum

The Parent Education Curriculum features more than 16 hours of training content for use with parents and caregivers in any center serving ages birth through five and already implementing Conscious Discipline. It includes reproducibles for make-n-takes, handouts and mini posters that enrich sessions and extend learning.

Dierks explained, “Conscious Discipline designed a curriculum that is applicable to a variety of settings so that programs and schools can select which components from the curriculum are best suited to meet the individual needs of the families they serve.

“The component selections include Parent Nights for group contacts, Home Visits for individual support, and Mini-Sessions which can be used in group settings or for individual support.”

Parent Education Curriculum Research and Testimonials

The research-based designation follows a 2018 descriptive study by Child Trends. Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching and Learning, the study indicated positive outcomes for parents who attended CD PEC trainings. To complete the study, the research team visited four Head Start sites during the first and final weeks of the seven-week training program, where parents completed the Attentive Parenting Survey (APS). They interviewed parents at both site visits and again six to eight weeks after classes concluded. The team also interviewed Head Start directors and teachers.

The research found that parents used significantly more positive responses and discipline methods after CD PEC classes. Parents reported improvements in managing their emotions and responding to challenging behavior. They felt less stressed and more connected with their children. More than 75 percent of parents reported at least one positive change in their children’s behavior.

Notably, six to eight weeks after classes ended, parents reported more consistent use of Conscious Discipline skills and strategies than immediately after the intervention. This suggests the sustainability of the positive changes achieved through CD PEC trainings. Learn more about the Child Trends study and read the full journal publication here.

Family Advocate Christine Jeffers said, “Conscious Discipline’s Parent Education Curriculum has helped our Head Start parents see discipline as teachable moments instead of punishment. Parents praise Conscious Discipline for teaching them how to gain composure and parent in more helpful ways.”

A parent who participated in the Child Trends study shared, “Before, I was doing as I was taught: yell, scream right back at them when they threw a fit. These classes helped me compose myself, to say, ‘Okay, stay calm.’ You can’t really think when you’re not calm. Once you get calm, you can think about how to handle the situation. And the kids, they mimic how they see their parents act.”

Fay Butcher, a Family Advocate Manager at Skyline CAP Head Start, said, “My Family Advocates and I have been using the Mini-Sessions. We love the flexibility. Parents start out saying, ‘That’s not how I was raised,’ then adding, ‘There is a better way. Thank you for showing me.’ We see parents practicing their breathing exercises and their children helping them. Parents are learning how to face the challenges of parenting. They’re asking us, ‘When is the next parenting class?'”

CD PEC is also extremely helpful for parents and caregivers of children with special needs like autism or down syndrome. Cheryl Cotter, a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor and Director of Programs at The Autism Project, said, “One dad attended parent training because he wanted to better connect with his son who has autism. He said it changed his relationship with his son and others, that he used to have a big reaction to little problems and has now learned to breathe and calm.” Another couple attended trainings to better communicate with their son who has down syndrome. After seeing the results, they decided to drive half an hour to another community to complete CD PEC training again.

Additional Resources: Conscious Discipline Parent Education Curriculum

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