The Nurtured Heart Approach® (NHA) is more than just a parenting or educator behavior management strategy. It is a philosophy for creating healthy relationships with the people in your life. Originally created by Howard Glasser in 1992, NHA is being successfully implemented through families, classrooms, foster care, health care professionals, social workers and criminal justice organizations that are seeking successful, early intervention techniques.
The Nurtured Heart Approach® consists of a set of strategies that assists children in further developing their self-regulation and has been found effective with children of all ages. It focuses on transforming the way children perceive themselves, their caregivers and the world around them. Children learn to understand that they will receive endless amounts of praise, energy, recognition and reward through the positive behavior they display and this supports children to build a positive portfolio of themselves, which we call “Inner Wealth™.”
Hektner, Brennan, Brotherson (2013), reviewed the NHA’s theoretical and empirical foundations and found that, “elements of NHA are consistent with clinical practice, developmental theory, and empirically validated parent training programs.” Brennan & Hektner (2016) reported an increase in parent perception of child’s strengths and parent confidence, as well as decrease in parent relational frustration following a five week parent course in the Nurtured Heart Approach®.
Finally, in June 2018, a research study conducted by the University of Arizona was concluded that evaluated the efficacy of NHA to reduce inattention and hyperactivity and impulsivity in children ages 6 - 8 years. Participants were parents or guardians of children diagnosed with, or suspected of, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While publication of study results are still pending, initial findings indicate a reduction in symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity in children according to study participants (see attached media release for more information).
The Nurtured Heart Approach® is based on three stands:
Stand 1: Absolutely No!
- I refuse to give my time, energy, and relationship to negative behavior.
- I will not accidentally foster failure nor will I reward problems by responding to them in animated ways.
- I will save my time and energy for searching for success.
Stand 2: Absolutely Yes!
- I will relentlessly and strategically pull the child into new patterns of success.
- I will constantly recognize the success and achievement that children are displaying no matter how small, and present them with clear undeniable evidence of their value and how great they are.
Stand 3: Absolutely Clear!
- I will have clear and consistent consequences for children when a rule has been broken. “Here are the rules, and here’s what happens when you break a rule.”
The simplicity of the Three Stand framework makes NHA an approachable and achievable methodology for parents and teachers. For example, this framework supports teacher development in classroom management, and promotes emotional regulation in children. These concepts are in line with district objectives for creating a safe and collaborative culture and fostering relationships with students. The Three Stands framework also gives parents relational and behavioral strategies to use in the home. The end results are parents with more confidence in their parenting skills, and children with positive self-concept and improved behavior.
Scope of training efforts to date:
Starting in 2018, Nick Bartlett, TTUSD Special Education Program Specialist and Advanced NHA Trainer was the sole trainer in the region. As a result of the 2020 Excellence in Education grant award, as well as district and school funding contributions, TTUSD was able to train six additional trainers in January 2021. They include:
- Gretel Vargas, 5th Grade Teacher - Glenshire Elementary School
- Rachel Falk, School Counselor - Glenshire Elementary School
- Jessica Scott, Special Education Program Specialist
- Cindy Maciel, Program Manager - STEPP and Early Learning Programs
- Barbara Kane, Coordinator of Translation and Bilingual Community Services
- Angelica Stone, Community Interpreter & Liaison / Translator
Since the 2020 grant approval, TTUSD has accomplished the following:
- One hour introductory teacher training has continued. There is also interest in training high school leadership classes in NHA in order to target student social-emotional well-being in this critical population.
- Teacher support and coaching at Glenshire Elementary School has increased as a result of Gretel Vargas’ training and leadership at that school.
- Utilization of the Nurtured Heart Approach methodology for targeted school counseling support, provided by Rachel Falk at Glenshire Elementary School. The NHA inspired book Greatness Kids Initiative (a complimentary text with activities useful for supporting kids of all ages in being their best and learning to use their intensity in great ways) has strongly influenced this work.
- Cindy Maciel and Gretel Vargas presented an 8-week workshop series in 2022 for Early Childhood Learning professionals through the First Five Nevada County Commission. There is an upcoming spring 2023 NHA workshop for Early Learning professionals.
- Continued bi-annual three part parent workshops for English and Spanish speaking families. Having bilingual trainers has enabled the district to provide more tailored and inclusive exposure to NHA for our Spanish speaking families.
While we have accomplished many of the outcomes sought through the previous grant proposal, there is a need for further training. Please refer to the Summary of Grant Proposal section for additional information