A Voice for Emotional Intelligence

Read more about the award in The New Haven Register, "Friends Center leader honored by Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence" by Brian Zahn.

On Monday, November 14, The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence honored Allyx Schiavone, director of Friends Center for Children, with the Marvin Maurer Spotlight Award. The award is named after an educator, Marvin Maurer, who — seeking to energize learning in his social studies class  developed a Feeling Word Curriculum that has since become a key component in Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence’s RULER programs  The Marvin Maurer Spotlight award recognizes an educator who embodies Mr. Maurer’s belief in the importance of connecting personal experiences to academic material and exhibits outstanding teaching practices of emotional intelligence.

“Friends Center for Children is a real community where children, staff and parents have the same core values,” said Marc Brackett, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence director. “The space radiates with warmth, trust and rigor: parents interacting with teachers, and children loving learning. It comes as no surprise that RULER — our center’s approach to social and emotional learning — has become part of the immune system of this amazing learning community. I couldn’t be prouder of Friends Center for Children.”

“I am thrilled to be receiving this award. It is especially poignant in light of the tumultuous time we find ourselves in as a result of a polarizing electoral season,” Allyx Schiavone said. “Never has the need for emotional intelligence been so evident. Recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating our feelings has the power to help our community explore differences, find tolerance and eventually heal.”

At the luncheon celebration held at the New Haven Friends Meeting house, Allyx reflected on her personal inspirations for her work at Friends Center – naming and honoring her son and daughter, Penn and Josie, for inspiring her “to be better and do better.” She also shared the Quaker values (simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship) and Friends Center mission (educate children, empower families, inspire teachers, engage community, embrace diversity) that together motivate all aspects of the Friends Center program, including its sliding scale tuition implemented to ensure no socio-economic majority in the program; its parent COOP where families contribute to our program each week; its commitment to diversity and having no racial majority; its Adverse Childhood Experience program which addresses potentially traumatic events children experience that can have negative, lasting effects on a child’s health and well-being.

Allyx’s message enumerated the many reasons why emotional intelligence, specifically the RULER program from Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

“We use RULER because we see a definitive impact on cognitive and academic growth through the program… because we believe that social and emotional learning is a component of an ideal learning community… because we navigate a diverse population with varying belief systems and cultures… We use RULER to set the foundation to help us navigate our implicit biases… because we see the link between this self-awareness and tolerance…because we see the impact that poor attachment, poor socialization and poor self-regulation can have on a community in multiple ways.”

Allyx shared the personal privileges and challenges she has experienced in finding her voice, and, in Quaker tradition, ended her message with queries to inspire all of us to consider the power and impact of our own voice:

What is your inspiration?
What is your motivation?
What are your values?
What is your work?         


A Pre-K Takes on Childhood Trauma

“I want to go to my house!” protested Simon.

Bonnie Muller took his hand and plunked down on the floor. “Tell me more,” she said.

It was part of a newly redoubled effort to reverse the damaging affects of childhood trauma on kids’ brains, mental health, and life trajectories.

The scene took place at the Friends Center For Children, a private preschool that just moved into a new, 9,200-square-foot building at 255 Grand Ave.

The center has won a grant to hire a full-time social worker to work with all teachers, families and kids at the center, which serves 55 kids from age 3 months to 5 years.

Read full article by Melissa Bailey in New Haven Independent.


Friends Center's New Building Featured in Patriquin Architect's Online Portfolio

The new Friends Center for Children shares the property with the Quaker Meeting House in Fair Haven. The two-story glu-lam beam structure was designed using LEED criteria and incorporates an active roof garden, geothermal heat pumps and locally manufactured and/or harvested materials. In planning a space for young children, we paid particular attention to indoor air quality through the selection of low VOC materials and finishes, and design of fresh air ventilation systems. Each classroom has natural light, natural ventilation and direct access to the playgrounds and parkland beyond.