begin to ECSEL® 


Developed by clinical psychologist Dr. Donna Housman, our early childhood training and curriculum program is based on the emotional foundations of learning and cognition and informed by research in neuroscience, child development, and education.

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Why begin to ECSEL® Matters

We are raising the future at a time of increased stress, anxiety, bullying, intolerance, and lack of empathy. Teachers and parents alike are struggling every day not only with the behavior, emotions stress, dysregulation, and worries of the children they care for but also their own.

Begin to ECSEL is designed with a prevention and intervention approach supporting ALL children through the training of teachers and the guiding of parents to identify and support children’s strengths and challenges while also strengthening their own emotional competencies so they too can better cope with all their emotions, including anxiety, stress, and frustration.

We know that the earlier we can help children connect their emotions to their behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, the more we can help them develop their own emotional, cognitive, and social capabilities; be empathic, and develop a strong and positive sense of self. Begin toECSEL reaches children in the earliest years when their brains are open and ready to learn the positive ways of managing and dealing with their own emotions and those of others, giving them the critical knowledge, understanding, and skills to carry with them throughout their life.

By teaching children from the beginning how to deal with, manage, and counteract big feelings and emotions helps them build innate positive reflexes when those emotions arise. They will then be able to express how they feel, self-regulate, and counteract the potential negative effects that can occur when emotions are not handled properly or managed effectively. Begin to ECSEL has been shown to build positive relationships, healthy interpersonal skills, strong prosocial behaviors, critical thinking skills, and empathic understanding.

Why begin to ECSEL Matters

When we are not cluttering our brains with negative thoughts and reactions, we are then free to open our minds to learn, create, and explore. We are better thinkers, are more equipped to problem solve and take initiative, and be more productive, setting the stage for lifelong learning, mental health, physical health, and success. We build a positive sense of self and we have the skills to necessary to handle frustrations, disappointment, and stress. We also develop the ability to cope with and manage our world and what we may encounter each day.

By developing emotional resilience we feel stronger in our own ability to try new things, make new friends, and take charge of any situation to realize a healthy outcome. When we know how to deal with negative emotions and the actions of others, we become open to being better friends, caring citizens with understanding, empathy and kindness for others, and contributing to a healthier, more productive, and stronger future for us all.

The begin to ECSEL® Program

Developed by clinical psychologist Dr. Donna Housman, our early childhood training and curriculum program is based on the emotional foundations of learning and cognition and informed by research in neuroscience, child development, and education.

The program has been scientifically proven to promote the building blocks of emotional intelligence and its associated skills and competencies.

Begin to ECSEL® is a promotion, prevention, and intervention program. Our globally recognized program provides training with accompanying stand-alone and/or integrative curriculum with supporting tools and materials, setting the stage for lifelong learning, mental health, well-being, and success. We train and support educators, mental health professionals, parents, and caregivers in the effective promotion of our evidence-based program, ensuring integration and success in the classroom and at home for the development of emotional competence, self-regulation, empathy, and critical prosocial and executive function skills in young children from birth.

“Our research findings provide scientific evidence that the use of the begin to ECSEL program with young children results in significant growth in emotional competencies, self-regulation, empathy, and other prosocial behaviors critical for children’s lifelong learning, mental health, well-being, and success.”

Jingyi Ke
Research Manager, Housman Institute

Because early learning is foundational for lifelong learning, mental health, well-being, and success, our begin to ECSEL program has been developed for children beginning from birth.

Begin to ECSEL is predicated on the knowledge that 90% of the brain develops before the age of 5, the most formative time for informing and shaping the brain’s architecture to promote and foster children’s ability to learn and succeed both personally and professionally for life. Research shows that during this time consistent repetition of high-quality learning experiences directed by knowledgeable, responsive and attuned caregivers can strengthen optimum brain development in young children.

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“Evidence confirms that supporting students’ social, emotional, and academic development benefits all children and relates positively to the traditional measures we care about: attendance, grades, test scores, graduation rates, college and career success, engaged citizenship, and overall well-being.”

Aspen Institute, 2019

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