Mindful Heart Kids: Innovative child care and enrichment programs for modern families
**Please see special Winter Break promotion at the end of the post! **
The following is an interview with Dr. Thuy Bui, Executive Director of Mindful Heart Kids.
Mindful Heart Kids, located on Sawtelle boulevard in West Los Angeles, provides innovative child enrichment programs for modern families. Our Executive Director Dr. Thuy Bui – a licensed mental health practitioner and a working mom – designed Mindful Heart Kids to be flexible, attuned, and inspiring. The MHK curriculum draws specifically from Dr. Bui’s 20 years of experience working with children and families. Our goal is to instill children with mindfulness and compassion, qualities that can be built upon for a lifetime of growth.
Please describe “therapeutic programs” ?
Therapeutic means that our programs involve therapy based activities, enrichment, or concepts related to socio-emotional learning. We use creative activities such as art, movement, and music therapy, for example. Most of the children in our program come from families that are looking for individualized care for their children in a small and intimate setting. We believe that the demands and stressors of society create challenges for children that generally do not get addressed until they become “problematic.” We want to help children and families develop before that happens and we want to help early if issues have already shown themselves.
What are some qualifications of the instructors?
One unique aspect of our program includes the fact that all our clinician/teachers are early-childhood or school-based specialists who have training as mental health professionals. Our staff are trained to see children holistically, with a real respect and caring for how children grow and develop as individuals.
What makes your classes different from traditional classes?
Our therapy based enrichment classes are highly researched and aimed especially for young children. We emphasize healthy communication, self-exploration, effective coping skills, and mindfulness. We also use art, music, and literature to give our kids a sense of the world. What makes us different is how we try to delve more deeply into the psychological aspects and individual needs of the children in our care.
Our group activities include singing, dance, and music and are used to emphasize a sense of connection to community. After welcome activities, children are divided into small groups for more individualized attention.
There is a different theme each week to encourage thinking about the world. Some examples would include conservation and recycling. We also emphasize body and self-care activities like yoga and meditation.
Every day is closed with gratitude and self-affirmations, such as “I learned a lot about myself today” or “I feel proud about who I am.”
Does technology play a role at Mindful Heart?
We feel like Mindful Heart Kids is a learning environment where life can slow down for children long enough to understand themselves. We use technology as a device on occasion. For example, we offer a “movie of the week,” because movies can be a great tool for socio-emotional learning in children. Recently, the children watched “Inside Out” and learned the importance of identifying and recognizing different emotions, and the important function each one serves. They learned that even sadness can inspire empathy and connection!
We then had the children participated in several follow-up activities teaching them how to identify emotions and use assertive communication and positive coping skills to get their needs met.
What are “Meaningful Meals”
Each day, children participate in creating a meal, learn about healthy nutrition, and where food comes from. We also emphasize the the “Art of Etiquette” while dining with friends. Eating mindfully helps children focus on the best aspects of food and to start to learn the role of healthy eating choices in their life. Some sample menu items might include Cheese Panini with Sliced Cantaloupe and Blueberries or Teriyaki chicken and tofu with Seaweed rice and Cucumber Salad
Do special needs children attend Mindful Heart Kids?
While we do not necessarily see special needs children, we do work with kids coping with issues such as ADHD, impulse control, or behavioral challenges in groups or individual therapy sessions. If we feel a child has needs that we aren’t fully able to support, we will draw from our experience in the Los Angeles community to provide that family with the best connections and resources available.
Snapshot of Mindful Heart Kids
- Promotes “life skills” – such as communication skills, decision making, self motivation, leadership skills, team-working skills, creativity and problem solving skills, and time management, to name a few
- Morning Enrichment Programs (ages 2-4)
- Afternoon Mindfulness Program (ages 5-10)
- Afternoon Enrichment Classes (ages 5-10)
- Therapy for individuals, family, and couples
- Parenting Support Group
- Daily, Monthly and drop-in rates offered
- Ratio of One instructor: 4-6 kids
- Drop-off valet
- After school pick-up program for Nora Sterry Elementary School (across the street from Mindful Heart Kids)
- Programs with UCLA
- Therapy animals – Keiki the canine, Kaira the horse, Babbit the rabbit
Special Winter Break Promotion: Dec. 19th – Dec.23rd
Mindful Heart Kids is so excited to offer special Winter Break programming this year! Please join us for a “Holiday Craftacular,” gingerbread house-making, amazing winter science experiments, creating “snow dough” for sensory fun, and inspiring lessons on compassion and “mindful giving” in light of the holiday season! The program is intended for children between the ages of 4 and 6, but older children will be considered on a case by case basis. The dates of the program are Monday, December 19th to Friday, December 23rd from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The cost is $75 per day but if you sign up for all five days, you will get the discounted rate of $350 for the week. Plus, if you refer a friend who registers with us, you will get $10 off!
In order to secure a spot, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, December 12th. Spaces are limited!
Mindful Heart Kids
Mindful Heart Kids Photo Gallery
Disclaimer: This is a paid, sponsored informational post for Mindful Heart Kids. Photos used with permission and provided by Mindful Heart Kids. Westside Mommy visited and observed Mindful Heart Kids first-hand but has not participated in the program.