A major goal of a birth – 5 early childhood program is to promote positive social and emotional growth in young children. Progress toward this goal takes place within the framework of discipline. All of the classrooms at Early Childhood Learning Services have implemented the Conscious Discipline Program developed by Dr. Becky Bailey (http://www.lovingguidance.com). Family engagement staff work with the families to assist caregivers in implementing a consistent discipline strategy between home and school. Conscious Discipline works to develop a sense of belonging and connection in the classrooms and homes, as well as promotes healthy self-esteem, self-regulation and social skills in children.

To promote children's positive social and emotional growth, the discipline process must be fair and consistent. It should include clear and appropriate expectations for all children, and recognize the wide range of developmental abilities of children as well as the differences in behavioral expectations between home and school.

In order to develop respect for themselves and others, children first must have a sense of security, a healthy self-esteem, an ability to initiate problem-solving, and empathy for others. Children can then become intrinsically motivated to assume responsibility for their actions.

It is the adult's responsibility to create an environment in which children can successfully develop these abilities as they grow from infancy. The physical environment must be safe, orderly, attractive, and inviting in order to promote appropriate social interactions. Adults in the environment need to set reasonable, clear guidelines for behavior while demonstrating genuine love and respect for children.