Sproutable represents not only the growth of children but also the journey and evolution that we go through as caregivers. Growing a child is hard work! Here at Sproutable we believe that all kids have the potential to be remarkable human beings. All caregivers, regardless of their own upbringing, have the potential to be remarkable grown-ups. We believe in everyone’s potential.
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I’ve always been drawn to children and they to me. When I was 17, I went on a cultural immersion/volunteer trip to Nicaragua where I lived in a village with a family. When we came back from our trip, one of the trip leaders created little headlines to describe our impact on the community. Mine was something to the effect of, “wherever Alanna went a group of children followed.”
I love learning! I was a huge bookworm when I was kid. I love figuring out how the world works, especially when it comes to human beings: why we do the things we do; how our brain functions (it’s fascinating!); and the history of thought and progress.
From my experience in childhood, I gained a deep desire for equity and social justice. I remember always having a strong opinion about what was fair and when it came to myself and my siblings the same treatment was NOT equal and that frustrated me. I also grew up in a house of abuse and addiction. Something I had to process and learn from so I didn’t make the same mistakes as an adult and as a parent. Like anyone, I had good role models and bad role models, but as a mother I had to figure out how I was going to parent differently. I do not want to mess up my kids.
Sproutable is the outcome of these desires, to help parents and caregivers offer children opportunities to learn the skills they need in a way that is aligned with their developmental stage and is based on mutual respect. It was a way for me to offer knowledge and tools so anyone can feel successful growing remarkable kids. Ultimately, by teaching and supporting children from a place of knowledge, connection, and respect, I believe we can build a better more equitable future for us all.
From an early age I always loved being with children. I was the one in the neighborhood who started babysitting at age 12 and never stopped. Even in my 20’s waiting tables in the West Village I would end up playing with the kids and getting asked to babysit (which I couldn’t say no to). My graduate degrees in school psychology and school counseling gave me just what I needed to work with and help children: the clinical skills to assess and evaluate, as well as the counseling skills to effectively intervene.
While working in Seattle Public Schools, I was introduced to Positive Discipline in the classroom. The foundation of Adlerian psychology, which reinforces a child’s need for significance and belonging, and the framework Positive Discipline gave me to teach life skills, as opposed to just stopping or changing behavior proved to be respectful and effective. Working with preschool and elementary ages, I realized that I needed a way to teach their parents too. I became a Positive Discipline educator, growing my business of classes, power workshops, private coaching, teacher trainings and parent education talks all over the city. There was nothing more rewarding than a parent telling me how the experience had changed their family for the better, that they felt rejuvenated and inspired.
Meanwhile, I knew everything about parenting until I actually had my own children! I began practicing Positive Discipline from the time I was pregnant with my first daughter, even starting family meetings when she was in a high chair. It has been a continued messy practice ever since, growing our family into a party of five.
The feedback I always get from my classes are that the “real” stories are the most helpful. The times I am NOT a perfect parent, and how I pick myself up and keep trying, sharing the latest brain research but also the real life application of a working mom. Adding a deep mindfulness practice to work and home has been a game changer for me and helped me answer “HOW do I implement the tool?” I infused this into my classes and heard parents and teachers say time and time again, “I wish I could have a little Julietta on my shoulder in the moment.” I founded Sproutable to offer a new way of learning where parents can SEE these tools in action right when they need it.