Founder and Chief dreamer Fabiola Santos-Gaerlan is a 21-year-strong provider of superior child care through Honeydew Drop Child Care in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Fabiola’s first pregnancy with her son Gabriel in 1992 sparked endless research about how to raise a child holistically. The childrearing industry was small compared to today but eventually boomed into a well-defined culture, with music and yoga classes, art, museums, dedicated scientific research all centered around children and their development. As this collective focus grew, so did Fabiola’s enthusiasm. After a decade of work as a TV show producer, which included years in children's programming, she decided to apply her expertise to more meaningful community work and transitioned into child care.
So, why socioemotional development?
Fabiola attended her first socioemotional child development seminar in 2005 hosted by Lesley Koplow, the champion of Emotionally Responsive Classrooms from Bank Street College. This is where the importance of kid feelings solidified - in the realization that the first few years of a child’s life are when they get to know the world. During this time, if there are feelings that are unheard of trauma that goes unresolved, it affects the rest of their lives in every way.
Many parents view their children as extensions of themselves. The positive side of this could be the unconditional love and proceeding protection and support. The negative side is the expectations parents have of their children, starting before they’re even born. These preconceived ideas of how children should behave and interact are often stifling. Instead, seeing children as individuals with different feelings, thoughts and methods allow them to grow into the best versions of themselves. When parents help children understand and manage their feelings rather than stopping or correcting them, they are giving them valuable skills needed on the journey of growing up.
All this resonated deeply with Fabiola, as her own childhood was difficult. She was raised by busy grandparents and her ideas, fears, questions, desires often went unattended. So in raising her own family, she made sure they felt seen and heard and was ever-conscious about taking time to understand why they felt the way they did.
Admittedly, this was a challenge, as the conditions of her childhood and popular parenting culture often crept up, dismissing ideas to spend time and energy on such discoveries.
After 19 beautiful years honing these child whispering skills in Honeydew classrooms with children from every culture, class and background, Fabiola heard a new calling: to magnify the significance of a child's feelings and start a movement of awareness around socio-emotional development. Enter Child In Mind.
Child In Mind teaches parents how to become intentional in speaking to their children, reacting to their children’s behavior, and coaches them out of the mindset of expecting kids to behave a certain way in order to win approval or love. Each child is unique and has different feelings about every circumstance and nuance. To expect them to react in a cookie-cutter way, at best, hides the best parts of them, and at worst, leaves them feeling inadequate or unexpressed.
Child In Mind was created to help children through their parents. At Honeydew, Fabiola and her staff help children go through their feelings, express them freely, and eventually manage them effectively. Child In Mind helps parents understand these methods and learn the skills to support their child’s socioemotional development and in turn, the rest of their little life.