The experiences and connections made in the first five years of a child’s life wires his or her brain, impacts behavior and determines interactions with others.
Armed with that information, educator Mindy Becker has brought a new concept in early childhood education to the community. Born and raised in Palmetto Bay, she is the founder and CEO of Grow With Us Academy, a preschool that provides an innovative approach to education and focuses on healthy social and emotional development for children and their families.
“Our commitment is to enrich lives by building personal connections, teaching conflict resolution and fostering effective communication as we teach, learn and live in a supportive loving environment,” Becker said.
The foundation of the preschool is based on Conscious Discipline, a social emotional approach, based on current brain research, created by Dr. Becky Bailey. Conscious Discipline teaches adults how to respond, rather than react, to life events. By responding, conflict situations are transformed into teachable opportunities.
Becker, a National Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor, trains her team teachers with this brain-based knowledge and new skill set. Because of this, the teachers are able to foster the emotional growth of the students through creativity, building confidence and gaining independence.
During a recent celebration of the school’s very successful first year and a half, Becker wanted to thank all the people who have helped her along her journey.
“I decided I wanted to have an event to celebrate my family, friends, mentors and all the people who have played a role in the creation and growth of Grow With Us. I envisioned it as a time to connect, relax and enjoy, while they toured the school’s new location,” she explained.
“With the help of my new business partner, Gigi Arrieta, along with the school’s chief operating officer, Anay Abraham De Naranjo, we turned the night into a Children’s Art Fundraiser led and created by Gina Jeffries, the new administrative director, and her supported team of parent volunteers.”
Proceeds from the evening benefit the Grow With Us Academy’s kindergarten scholarship fund and professional development.
During the evening, tours of the classrooms reinforced the Academy’s unique philosophy. At Grow With Us, the heart of the school is “The Connecting Corner” which incorporates many different connecting opportunities such as the shelf that holds special cups. There is one cup for each student which the parent fills every morning with air kisses. The cups sit on the shelf waiting to be opened if a child needs to feel close to his or her parent throughout the school day.
Another designated area was the “Safe Place,” where children can remove themselves from the class in order to manage their emotions when they are feeling angry, frustrated, sad or afraid. Children willingly go to the Safe Place and are taught how to self-regulate. Because of this, children learn at a very young age how to calm their bodies down in an effective and safe way, which in turn creates healthy brain patterns and skills these children will have for life.
By teaching children the skill of composure, the child is then able to access the higher centers of the brain, which is required for optimal learning.
Dr. Bailey, who recently visited the campus, said, “Grow With Us Academy is a leading school modeling the best in early childhood education and Conscious Discipline. Join them or visit to see the most current research on children, brain development, and learning in action. It’s the best I have ever seen!”
Grow With Us Academy is located at 7530 Sunset Dr. For more information call 305-667-GROW (4769) or send email firstname.lastname@example.org.