Five Early Learning Centers in Rhode Island Implement New Initiative

CUMBERLAND (September 21, 2010) – An innovative program designed to improve the social and emotional skills of young children and better prepare them for academic learning is being launched by the largest privately-owned child care program in Rhode Island.

The Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) program, locally sponsored by the Sherlock Center at Rhode Island College, is underway at five early learning centers run by the locally-owned The Children’s Workshop.

“Research has clearly demonstrated that young children need to develop social and emotional skills before they can become skilled learners,” said Heather Grocott, PBIS Project Director at The Children’s Workshop.

The program emphasizes reinforcing positive behaviors and teaching children respect. Teachers help children to express themselves appropriately, make safe choices, and communicate with other children their own age.

"PBIS is underway at Children’s Workshop centers in Lincoln, Central Falls, Smithfield, Pawtucket, and Rumford.  Plans are to implement the program in the company’s 10 other centers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts by the end of 2011," Grocott said.

The key elements of PBIS include:
• A universal set of expectations for children, teachers, and families.
• A safe environment that is consistent, predictable, and positive.
• A universal acknowledgement system that recognizes and rewards children when they make positive, safe, and kind choices.
• A focus on family engagement – keeping a consistent approach between home and school.

Grocott said a key component of the program involves close collaboration between teachers and parents.  Parents are provided information on how to reinforce positive language and behaviors at home.

The Children’s Workshop President David MacDonald said that the company has chosen to implement the PBIS model to help the children in their care take a positive perspective and genuine excitement for learning into their future educational endeavors.  To find out more, please visit the PBIS Overview.