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FLIP IT! Transforming Challenging Behavior has won a 2012 National Parenting Publications (NAPPA) Award, hand-picked by their prestigious team of expert judges and parent testers.

Responding effectively to challenging behavior is a process, not an event. The FLIP IT strategy is a simple and easy-to-use intervention. Learning to use FLIP IT enables teachers to be in control of themselves and to respond in a manner that helps children to understand their feelings, respect themselves and others, and develop important problem-solving skills.”— Barbara Kaiser, co-author of Challenging Behavior in Young Children: Understanding, Preventing, and Responding Effectively

FLIP IT is a program that empowers adults to transform children’s challenging behaviors into opportunities for them to learn what they can do, how to problem-solve, to express feelings in a healthy way, and to gain self-control. Whether you are teaching yourself, providing adult education, or mentoring, you will love the well-developed and attractive training materials that present sequenced active learning strategies. Author Rachel Sperry’s understanding of children comes shining through.”

— Dr. Donna Wittmer, author of The Young Child: Development from Prebirth Through Age Eight, Endless Opportunities for Infant and Toddler Curriculum: A Relationship-Based Approach, and Infant and Toddler Development and Responsive Program Planning: A Relationship-Based Approach

FLIP IT contributes to the already substantive DECA resource material by providing an emotionally supportive intervention model that can be readily understood and implemented by staff and parents without years of clinical training. This guide is a valuable addition to the DECA collection. I highly recommend it for Head Start programs and child care centers throughout the country.”

— Lesley Koplow, LCSW, Director, The Center for Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street and author of Unsmiling Faces: How Preschools Can Heal and Creating Schools That Heal: Real-Life Solutions

We are doing our first full Flip It Training for our preschool staff tomorrow. I wanted to thank you again for developing this strategy and training and sharing it with our folks up here in Anchorage.  I have been using Flip It often this fall and I keep finding myself in awe of its ease of use and effectiveness. It is simple, yet complex, and I am starting to understand all its applications. The most effective part of the strategy for me is that no matter how frustrated, goal orientated, or hurried I am when I initiate the Flip, by the end I am in the right frame of mind. As soon as I really want to be the adult helping the child to problem solve, learn, and feel better, all goes well. Amazing really ????  We will be channeling your knowledge, compassion, and energy as well!”

– Katheryn Staples, Early Intervention Services Instructional Lead, Anchorage School District, Anchorage, AK

I used this method on a boy that I coach on a robotics team. He has cochlear implants which have never quite worked right, making his language skills very low. He knows a little sign language, which we use with him, but other than that he doesn’t speak much. At practice this boy would try to get your attention by signing ‘crying’ and saying “I sad” over and over again. He would stop working and even put the sheet that covered the table over his head. When asked why he was sad he would just shake his head and again say “I sad”. Now I know to never ask a kid why, because they don’t know. The next practice after we talked about this, I used it on the boy. When he said “I sad, I sad”, instead of asking why, I said “I’m sorry you are sad, but on this team we work hard and help our teammates. What do you think we could do so that you won’t be sad anymore?” He just shrugged his shoulders and said “I sad” again. I then told him that I sometimes like to go for a walk when I am sad” and he shook his head yes and we walked the halls for a few minutes. When we got back to the classroom he went back to working with his team. He just needed a little attention. This is great for me, because now before practice starts, he and one of the coaches walk the halls together for a few minutes and he is good for the rest of practice. This program was really effective for him, and helped me because I can focus on the other kids a little more now.

– Coach from Hamilton, OH


I love, love, love the easy-to-read format.”

— Preschool teacher (Pennsylvania training participant)

My teachers are still posting FLIP IT success stories on our Professional Development Community from the FLIP IT training they had this fall!  It was so well received here. I think part of the reason for the success is that my co-presenter and I are able to get in the classrooms and coach teachers through the steps until they are more comfortable using them on their own. High Scope and FLIP IT are the two best train-the-trainer experiences I have had in my 34 years in Early Childhood!”

– Karen Spahn, Early Childhood Consultant, Green Hills AEA, Glenwood, IA

I recently attended the NAEYC conference and went to Rachel Sperry’s session. I thought she was a great presenter and was very inspired by her approach to behavior management. I immediately went over to the Kaplan booth in the exhibit hall and got her Flip-It book. After reading it, I decided to buy 22 copies so I would have them for my entire staff. I am excited to have my staff read the book and to have us all speaking the same language. I think this is a great technique and I think my teachers and families will really benefit from it. Please thank Rachel for me!”

– Leslie S., Director, Red Bridge Early Childhood Center, Kansas City, MO

After a month of FLIP IT, my son told me that I don’t yell anymore.”

— Stressed mother of a four-year-old boy (Massachusetts)

I visit a daycare with a certain child that falls apart when things don’t go her way. And let me tell you, “it ain’t pretty” when it happens either! Once she had a two hour screaming fit because she wanted a certain teacher to hand her a paper towel. (That teacher was busy and she could reach the paper towels herself and others were offering to help and you get the picture). So, mostly everybody just walks around her like eggshells.

Yesterday she threw a fit because another child wore the paint shirt she wanted. (He even took it off for her and she threw it across the room so then another child put it on who wasn’t giving it up…once again, I’m sure you get the picture!). I decided “I’m flippin’ this girl”! I went to the couch and held her and said “I know you’re really sad and upset because you want to wear the bunny shirt (insert scream here) but so and so is wearing it right now (insert extra loud scream here) what else could we do to make you feel better? (Insert a little calmer scream but add wiping snotty nose on me) and then we began listing some ideas. We came up with wearing it at nap time! She was completely happy with that idea and the crisis was settled in about 10 minutes!

I’m convinced that if I had just said “You can’t have the shirt now but you can wear it at nap time” she would have continued screaming her “mad as a wet hen” act! Only going through the steps together did she feel validated and given the power to fix the problem herself….well, she thought she fixed the problem herself. What a perfect solution for those children that want complete control! And what’s even better is that the whole ordeal actually helped build our relationship. Rather than me being the bully teacher making her stay in a timeout crying I was her coach, her supporter, and most of all, her understanding teacher that she knows cares and loves her!

Thanks again Rachel! I’m off to another daycare to flip some more kids!”

— Amy Anderson, Professional Development Associate, Project REACH, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

I attended your training in San Antonio 1 year ago this month! I loved it! We (my partner and I) presented to a group of 65 here at Region 10 last Wednesday–95% of the respondents to our survey, thus far, said they would recommend this training to others!!! All sorts of positive feedback! Just wanted to thank you for making this training so thorough (great stories, easy to understand concepts, practice scenarios and the Practice Picture Flip Book)….a program that is really easy to be enthused about and present to teachers and others. We will be presenting to more teachers (at their sites) soon. Thanks for all your GREAT work! We are continuing to FLIP-IT here in Texas!”

— Sharon A. Carr, LMSW, Mental Health Consultant, Early Head Start/Head Start, Region 10 Education Service Center, Richardson, TX

A fellow co-worker and I will be presenting Flip-it on January 18. We feel very confident with our training, the booklet and DVD that we can certainly train our staff! I can let you know the outcome of our training. Thank you for the FLIP IT strategy! I love the simplicity of the strategy and bringing “feelings” to focus in the work with children.”

— Roberta Wolschon, MA, LLPC, Mental Health/Education Specialist, MCCSA Head Start, Clinton Township, MI

WOW…I am still FLIP IT crazy…Angela and I trained all of the staff when we got back. It took two separate months. Next year I have talked to other content areas (Foster Grandparents and transportation) they want the training for their people too. THANKS to you all for the opportunity to become a train the trainer for FLIP IT. We continue to brag on it every chance we get. It is so important to us…and the children we serve.”

— Sunni Zimmer, Mental Health and Disabilities Coordinator, CAPE-Head Start/Early, Evansville, IN

The FLIP IT Train-the-Trainer was one of the best trainings I have attended. I really enjoy trainings that are practical and can be put to everyday use. I have been flipping everyday!! Thank you for the information!”

— Wendy Greenlief, Early Learning Mentor Coach, Community Action Southwest, Washington, PA

My training went VERY WELL. I love the material – loved presenting it. I even took “ICK” for my group. My audience loved it as well – many great comments. I just had a feeling that FLIP IT would be something that would appeal to people who work in the trenches and sure enough. Thank you for putting together this material and for your help with my presentation. I am going to try and get FLIP IT out there more.”

— Jan Frost, Professional Development Associate, Project REACH, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

I have been using it with my 4 and 8 year old with a lot of success – even this morning when my 4 year old was upset since she could not find her blankie. It was so cool to see her think through the process and find the solution on her own – and then even later tell me “Daddy – are you happy that I am using my manners and not having a fit over my blankie!!” THANK YOU FOR MAKING MY LIFE A LITTLE EASIER!!”

— Ken Baker, Father of a 4 year old.

FLIP IT is a great tool to share with teachers. It provides a step by step process for acknowledging children’s feelings while setting clear limits and teaching problem solving skills.”

— Aviva Shira Starr, EChO Program Manager, Durham Exchange Clubs’ Family Center, Durham, NC

I love FLIP IT! It combines everything (and more) of what I have been trying to teach our teachers in a simple and usable way! Thanks so much for this great tool!”

— Kim Baumgart, Pocatello Chubbuck School District #25 Head Start, Pocatello, ID

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