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Paulette Maggiacomo

Paulette Maggiacomo

May 1, 2021

As I was attempting to write this newsletter, I simply couldn’t put my thoughts into words and I had an ‘aha’ moment. I reflected on Kim Hughes’ presentation on Feeling Your Feelings - How to Get Unstuck with Conscious Discipline and I followed the 5 Steps for Self-Regulation she focused on:

  1. I AM: My body was telling me that I was angry by my clenched teeth.

  2. I CALM: I allowed myself the time to sit with this emotion and let it bubble up to the surface by being a STAR (Smile, Take a deep breath – or as many as needed, And Relax). I allowed myself that moment of self-care that is so important to help us get unstuck.

  3. I FEEL: I realized that I wasn’t angry, but rather I was frustrated.

  4. I CHOOSE: By naming the feeling I was able to ‘Name it, Tame it, and Reframe it’ and move towards feeling optimistic.

  5. I SOLVE: I then was able to take responsibility and take action – hence (I just love that word) my thoughts became my words. As they use to say on the television show, The A-Team, “I love it when a plan comes together!”

By effectively using this process I internalized it and can now model for others. As Kim said, “We can’t teach skills that we do not have.” If we are going to teach children how to self-regulate, we must be able to do it ourselves. We can either catch their crazy or download calm and be a STAR. In order to be a STAR, we must be aware of our triggers and remember that “no one can drive you crazy unless you give them the keys.”

Use D.N.A. to help the children recognize their feelings:

  1. Describe: “Your (eyes, mouth, face, arms) are going like this....."

  2. Pause: When you have eye contact, download calm by breathing

  3. Name: "You seem_______________________"

  4. Acknowledge:"You wanted _____________________" or, "You were hoping __________________"

Kim stressed the importance of allowing yourself the luxury, not the necessity, of self-care. You cannot give what you do not have. I know it feels overwhelming to find the time – you can do it, you must do it! Turn off those electronics (I was embarrassed when my phone notified me of how much time I spent on it, and no I was not just talking to people), lock yourself in the bathroom and savor that piece (or pieces) of chocolate, take that walk, but please, I implore you to find the time. You matter!!!!!

As our year comes to a close, I would like to thank each one of you for your commitment to early childhood education. During this unprecedented time in our history, you have been the ‘Safe Place’ for the children entrusted into your care. You are indeed a Superhero. THANK YOU.

Until next time, I wish you well,


Four children stand at a table. They are playing with clay.
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