BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The founder of a popular program that's being used in classrooms across the country made her first visit to a South Mississippi school Friday. Dr. Becky Bailey is the creator of Conscious Discipline. She is also an award-winning author and early childhood education expert who just wants to turn schools into a safe, positive environment for children.
Dr. Bailey took on the role of a bully to show how children should react, without using violence.
"What if I called you stupid?" she asked a boy.
"I don't like it when you call me names," another boy responded.
Bailey visited North Bay Elementary in Biloxi to see how her Conscious Discipline technique is changing the way children treat each other.
"North Bay Elementary is doing a phenomenal job with Conscious Discipline. My heart sings. It's impressive," said Bailey.
North Bay implemented Conscious Discipline four years ago.
"Help your mom do the dishes. Whoa! Yeah," Bailey said as she read some positive comments on the wall.
It is a philosophy to help guide and discipline children, so they can learn to manage their own emotions and behavior to resolve conflicts and achieve their goals.
"Once I learned how to handle myself, we do the same things with the kids. So when a kid is, 'No!' We go, 'Breathe, breath. You can handle this,'" Bailey said.
Bailey's strategies have been used in more than 50,000 schools all over the country.
"We do a breathing ritual to begin our day to calm any upset that's inside of our body. Our students are taught breathing strategies to deal with anything that they encounter throughout the day. We just want to let her see that Conscious Discipline has made a positive impact in our school," said North Bay Elementary Principal Dr. Laurie Pitre.
"It makes me feel safe, because I know everyone is like a class family, and we never hurt each other's feelings," said fourth grader Mary Wright.
The children learn to show empathy, celebrate each other successes, and basically, be kind to one another.
"I knocked over a chair. A little girl came up and picked it up. No one asked her to pick it up. This kind of kindness, this kind of awareness of others, this empathy and this drive to be successful. We want to teach children how to discipline themselves," said Bailey.
"I get paid to be a nicer person. So I go around the country and teach myself how to be a nicer person and it's a great way to make a living," she added.
"We're working hard to implement her strategies and just to have her live here in person is just so helpful and so valuable. The students are so excited!" said Pitre.
Conscious Discipline is also being used in businesses and homes worldwide. After her visit, Dr. Bailey signed copies of her new book for every staff member at North Bay Elementary.
"Not only is she pointing out the things that we've done well, but she's helping us get to that next level and that's what we want to do. We want to be the best that we can be. We want to help our children be the best that they can be," said Pitre.