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Holly Elissa Bruno | @hollyelissabrun

Holly Elissa Bruno | @hollyelissabrun

Holly Elissa Bruno MA, JD is an advocate for early childhood education leadership. An author, trainer, speaker, consultant and professor, Bruno is an alumna of Harvard University's Institute for Educational Management. Holly Elissa teaches leadership and management courses for Wheelock College across the country. A recovering attorney, Bruno is a former assistant attorney general for the state of Maine and currently uses her skills to advocate for stronger leadership in early childhood education. Bruno hosts the Leadership Channel on BAM Radio. Her articles have been published in Child Care Exchange and NAEYC's Young Children journal.

Posted by on in Education Leadership

Truth is I’d rather run. Board a plane. Take a hike. Read a book. Listen to Brahms or Marvin Gaye or Aretha. Jump out of my skin. Escape.

I have a certain expertise at running: I’m an escape artist. Houdini and me: we have got our act down! I have run from things scary, painful, disorienting or just unfamiliar.

I learned to be an escape artist as a child. When violence threatened at 12 Orchard Drive, I climbed a tree. I climbed a hilltop. I hid invisible (I prayed) behind a formal chair in my mother’s (un-lived-in living room). Later on, I hid in so many extracurricular activities, chose universities far away, accepted jobs that kept me from tigers.

b2ap3_thumbnail_tiger---travels.jpg

I became adept at recalling only fully-lighted moments from my childhood while turning my back on dark memories where tigers lurked.

Those tigers are smart cookies. They took up residence inside my heart so I would never be without them. Even in what appears to others as a safe place, I feel the tigers prowling. My heart beats a fast and breath-taking tattoo.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Ask a child to point to herself. Where does her index finger land?

If you or I were to point to ourselves, we would likely place our hand on the same destination as that child.

We point not to our forehead, not to our stomach, not to our ear or our other hand. We point to our heart.

I point to my heart because that’s where I live. I live through my heart. I see the world through my heart. I breathe through my heart. I listen to people with my heart. Heart to heart conversations are, for me, timeless, precious. “Your vision becomes clear only when you can look deeply into your own heart.” (Carl Jung).

I point to my heart because I “take heart” when a child smiles. I am “heartened” when I am in the presence of kindness and beauty.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

 

Editor's Note: This blog post was written for the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership on June 11, 2015. You can read the original post here.

 

Who makes you laugh? Really laugh. Belly-laugh. Double-over-laughing laugh. Laugh-until-you-cry laugh?

 

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

“We must be willing to let go of the life we had planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”*

 

A funny thing can happen on the way to our destination: A detour spirits us into the unforeseen. We can’t turn back. The known road is closed.

Have you experienced or witnessed this unfolding way life works?  An unanticipated turning of the heart may result.

In my case, a funny thing happened on the way to a routine, unpleasant but necessary medical procedure. Katie Couric exhorts us to have this screening. Sandra Bullock quips: “Invite your friends to join you.” 

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to “read people as well as we read books”.  In “reading” ourselves and others, we use emotional literacy to bring out the best in everyone. Even the most upset parent can be uplifted by compassionate, emotionally intelligent action. In a word, emotional intelligence means RESPECT. Fully 80% of our important life decisions utilize EQ rather than IQ: “People who only use IQ can be stunningly poor pilots of their personal lives.” (Dr. Daniel Goleman). People with EQ have the ability to soothe and uplift others. Children learn best in relationship with trusted emotionally literate adults.

 

1. Sixty-five to 90% of percent of human emotion is communicated nonverbally. Did your parents ever “give you the look”? Nonverbal messages are powerful. Children learn more by watching adults interact than children learn from any lesson plan. Describe when you have observed little ones imitating adults, doing “what we do rather than what we say.” How can adults use this knowledge to help children?

 

2. Change is the status quo. However, only 5% of teachers embrace change readily. Ten percent never accept change, while 15% slowly adapt. The majority, 65%, take a “wait and see what’s in it for me” attitude (Dr. Neila Connors). What have you learned about how to help resistant people become more open to changing?

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