About The Echo Center
At The Echo Center, (formerly Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting), we’re dedicated to reimagining the parent/child dynamic. We offer program participants a whole new way of looking at family building. We help people throughout the community move away from fear-based judging toward empathetic nurturing. And we’re all about raising children with care and building loving, respectful families.
Join our movement. It’s well worth it.
Who We Are
In the United Nations report on children’s well-being, the United States receives a dismal review. In nearly all categories related to the safety and rights of children, our country ranks toward the bottom of all wealthy nations. Since 2000, Echo Parenting & Education has been helping adults in Los Angeles and around the world to support the rights of children through a compassionate, empathy-led practice. Join the global movement of parents and professionals who dare to imagine a world in which all children are raised free from physical and emotional harm.
The Echo Parenting & Education Vision
Echo Parenting & Education envisions a world of nonviolence in which adults respect children by ensuring their right to emotional and physical safety.
The Echo Parenting & Education Mission
The mission of Echo Parenting & Education is to support and facilitate child raising rooted in connection and empathy. We teach parents, teachers and others who strongly influence children’s lives an approach that integrates current research in human development with the practice of nonviolence.
Location and Scope
Echo Parenting & Education is located in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, advocating and teaching nonviolence in child raising. We serve the greater Los Angeles community with classes, trainings, workshops, presentations, festivals and conferences; both at our Echo Park location and in schools, home visits and various agencies. Echo Parenting also offers workshops and other programming in locations around the country and around the world. Services are available in English, Spanish and Mandarin. The classes are appropriate for adults in relationship to children of any age.
Child Care is provided at the Center during Parenting Classes and is an integral part of the program; while the parents learn about nonviolence through our parenting curriculum, the children learn about it though a complimentary curriculum based on emotional intelligence.
Echo Parenting & Education is in the Echo Park United Methodist Church, located at 1226 N. Alvarado Street, at Reservoir St, one block north of Sunset Blvd. We are grateful to share this space, but we are not affiliated with the church.
Defining Nonviolence and Violence
The term “nonviolence” describes a commitment to treat oneself and others with deep respect. It is a belief in the basic goodness of all living things. Nonviolence is an all-encompassing perspective. It includes our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. What we think and say matters.
The philosophy and practice of nonviolence in parenting applies the ideas of nonviolence to the relationship between parents and children. Their connection allows the child to learn to be a caring and empathetic human being, fulfilling his or her own dreams and wishes and at the same time supporting the dreams and wishes of others. Violence begets violence, while nonviolence begets nonviolence. Nonviolence honors and respects the value, dignity and life force of the child.
The word nonviolence does not only refer to the absence of physical violence, but it is a word that honors the connection with a child that respects the core dignity of the child as a full and complete human being. A nonviolent relationship with a child is one that is built on respect and kindness towards the core feelings and needs of the child.
At Echo Parenting & Education, we define the word violence in a very broad way. It includes anything that hurts the heart, mind or body of a child and leads to disconnection and distrust. This includes spanking, bribes, threats, name calling, shaming, manipulation, being untruthful, even praise and rewards. This view moves beyond the current legal definition of child abuse and into a responsible, more comprehensive understanding of what violence toward children means.
Every human being needs and yearns for a deep, loving connection with their parents that is built on unconditional acceptance, affection, appreciation, autonomy and attention. It is the parent’s responsibility to be the child’s emotional coach, guiding them through the world of emotions and core basic needs; creating and building emotional intelligence and setting limits.
Learning the philosophy and practice of nonviolence in child raising gives us a framework to think about our actions as parents and what our children truly need to thrive as healthy human beings. Envisioning our children as adults gives us clarity and insight into the relationship we need to have with our child to bring forth the traits and qualities we hope for their future.
Echo Parenting & Education began its life as The Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting in 1999. It was created by Ruth Beaglehole, M.A. as a response to how she saw children being raised worldwide. The roots of Echo Parenting & Education were founded on Ruth’s lifelong commitment to children and a path that led her to understand what children truly need. After a decade of working as a preschool teacher and parent educator, Ruth founded the Teen Parenting and Child care Program in 1985 at the L.A. Technology Center, a Los Angeles Unified School District adult school. A model program, teen mothers earned their High School diploma while enrolled in Ruth’s Child Care and parent education program. It was here that Ruth saw a raw vulnerability in these teen mothers, who in the early days screamed at and spanked their kids. She was face to face with the long-term effects of hurting children in the name of “discipline”.
Ruth really felt for these mothers and saw how much they needed to be cared for. She taught them to emotionally connect with their children, and the tools of nonviolent parenting began to emerge. Ruth quickly created a bottom line within the walls of her Child Care Center; no spanking or yelling.
In the place of these hurtful practices, teens were taught how to express love, using techniques for connecting communication, effectively breaking the cycle of family violence. Ruth modeled nurturing and love, which many of the teens, conditioned in violence, had never experienced. Ruth quickly realized the vast need for parents who craved nurturing and support and information about child development. Thus she deepened her commitment to the needs of children through her work with adults, and began to develop a philosophy that would support adults in relationship with children in the best possible, most loving way.
This experience, along with decades of work in early education formed the basis of the philosophy of nonviolence. It’s success created support for Ruth to extend this philosophy to the wider community, and CNVEP (now called Echo Parenting & Education) was born. Today, two of the mentors from Ruth’s early work remain on the Echo Parenting board of Directors, and six of the teen mothers themselves are part of the Echo Parenting staff, a testament to the effectiveness and beauty of the practice of nonviolent parenting.
From the beginning, Echo Parenting & Education has provided Parenting Services, Days of Dialogue, and the Festival of Childhood in Echo Park. Today, it has expanded to include a variety of Professional Services, an educational Newsletter and Community events, reaching approximately 10,000 people annually.
Echo Parenting credits the influences of a diverse theoretical and Academic spectrum in shaping it’s own philosophy, including; Daniel Goldman, Robin Grille, Alfie Kohn, Joseph Chilton Pearce , Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, Dr. Dan Seigel and Dr. Murray Strauss.
Philosophy & Practice
Nonviolence is a philosophy and a daily practice.
It is an entirely new paradigm for the adult-child relationship. It is a move from our society’s dominant paradigm of conditional parenting to nonviolent parenting. Conditional parenting is all around us; parents either punish or reward children for their behavior. If children are good, they get approval and a reward. If they are bad, attention is withdrawn and they are punished. This conditional parenting undermines a child’s sense of self worth and self -dignity as a vital, alive, feeling human being.
Nonviolent parenting offers an optimal relationship and the conditions in which children can thrive and grow into healthy adults. By building a tight emotional bond of understanding, nurturing, support, trust, warmth and compassion, a child reaches a high level of emotional development. The tools of nonviolent parenting respect the science of early brain development and are grounded in the knowledge that to raise healthy children, adults must be in relationship with children through the giving of unconditional connection. Respecting the science of brain development fosters a deep respect of the life force of all living creatures. It teaches connection and support between adults and children in the most profound way possible.
Why We Practice
At birth, most people love their children deeply, and love is essential to infant brain development, determining whether or not a child will thrive later in life. Yet, this love gets compromised by a lot of things; stress, fear, poverty, racism, unresolved problems or a parent’s own unresolved childhood trauma. Nonviolence helps the adult to mange all that disconnects them from feeling, thinking and experiencing the child. It supports the adult. It teaches them to step back and celebrate their child when anger, anxiety and withdrawl threaten their connection. It gives parents tools to break their own cycle of violence and projections from their childhoods, and this is a very, very profound thing. It teaches the language of emotional literacy. A dialogue that immerses the adult in emotional connection to child; feelings, needs and modeling behavior for children. It makes space for the emotional process of a child in the adult’s life. It stresses the understanding of child development, encourages a clear whole picture of the child with the ultimate goal of staying connected. It builds a structure of family values that emphasize safety, support and values with limits that do not constrict the child, but support learning and development.
We believe that if children are raised with care; we are teaching children to care for themselves, others, and the wider community. Thus, our simple slogan:
Raising Children With Care, Raising Children To Care
Founder of Echo Parenting & Education, Ruth Beaglehole has spent her life considering the needs of children, seeking support and nurturing for children as full human beings, using the principles of respect, healing and connection. Ruth’s professional journey parallels her personal journey and has given her the empathy, courage and dedication that has fueled her groundbreaking work; creating a new paradigm of unconditional parenting that is the soul of Echo Parenting & Education.
Ruth’s story begins in New Zealand; born to Academic parents, with one sister and two brothers. Ruth’s childhood was “complicated”, to use her own words. Her own struggle would become Ruth’s biggest asset. As she set off to heal her own emotional pains, her understanding of the parent/child relationship was transformed. She began to see the world in broad, loving, and ultimately profound terms. Her early interest in childhood education earned Ruth a B.A. in Education from Victoria University, New Zealand and a Diploma in Preschool Teaching (known in New Zealand as Kindergarten teaching).
Echo Park and The Playgroup – 1970
Ruth moved to Los Angeles and was immediately drawn to the community of Echo Park where she became involved in relevant issues of the day. This community energy evolved into the Echo Park Silverlake Child care Center, known fondly as the Playgroup. In its day, the Playgroup was a much needed, newly formed concept. A daycare center that serviced the working population of the community, it had humble beginnings in garages. After much work, it evolved into a city-funded program with it’s own building, credited for amending city laws to allow child care in residential neighborhoods for the first time ever, simplifying life as we know it today.
Parent Education/ An Awakening – 1982
After leaving Playgroup, Ruth became a Parent Education Teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District. Working with children, and then parents, awakened fresh ideas in her vast heart. She saw that parents needed nurturing and support and wanted information about child development and how to love their children. But there was a big gap for many parents; they simply did not know what to do.
Teen Mother Program – The birth of Nonviolent Parenting – 1985
Seeking to broaden her skills as a Parent Educator, Ruth earned her M.A. in Marriage, Family and Child Therapy from Phillips Institute, Los Angeles. With her newfound degree, Ruth’s work with Los Angeles Unified School District expanded with the birth of the model program she founded; the Teen Parenting and Child care Program at the Los Angeles Technology Center. This program enabled teen mothers to earn their High School diploma while their children were enrolled in Ruth’s child care program. It was this child care program that birthed the term nonviolent parenting. It was a simple genesis; while watching the teens scream and spank their children, she realized that their own early childhoods had brought these teens to a covertly violent style of parenting. Ruth made a commitment to create a bottom line within the walls of that child care center. “We would love, support and model nurturing to these children”, recalls Ruth.
Center for Nonviolent Education and Parenting – 1999
Taken by the success of the program, Ruth was encouraged by the teen mother mentors and the community to extend the philosophy and practice, evolving into CNVEP. Ruth’s big heart, her deep feelings for children, adults and humanity at large made CNVEP a thriving organization for it’s first decade.
Echo Parenting & Education – 2010
In 2010, CNVEP changed underwent a branding change, and the same transformational work that Ruth had practiced for half a century now goes by the name Echo Parenting & Education. “Echo” because of the geographical roots in Echo Park, but also as a metaphor: when we are kind, that kindness echoes long after we are gone. In other words, when we raise children with care, we raise children to care.
Ruth resides in Echo Park, rooted deeply in the community that has held her for more than forty years. Her three devoted children and five grandchildren that connect her heart to her work, live nearby and support; often attending her parenting classes. Ruth remarks that as she watches them parent she knows that her philosophy works, seeing them love with more freedom and emotional competency than she started with. She has broken the cycle in her own family and that is very profound.
Board Of Directors
Girls on the Run – Assistant Coach August
Next Generation Young Professionals Group- Member Young and Healthy Pasadena, CA
Board Member of Young and Healthy Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce -Member
Former Member, Southern California Grant Makers Association
Former Controller, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
Former Controller, Lannan Foundation
Former Vice President, Finance; Lieberman Research West Inc.
Former Supervisor, Corporate Business Planning
Former Senior Consultant, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Linda Keston, Chair
Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
Facilitator, Mann Early Childhood Parenting Center
Volunteer Counselor, Maple Center Community Circle Program
Member, Association of Child Development Specialists
Member, Board of Directors Early Childhood Center at Cedars Sinai
Child Care Consultant
Retired Outreach, Grant and Enrollment Coordinator, UCLA Early Care and Education
Volunteer, Alliance for Children’s Right
Former Commercial Property Manager
Former Board Member, Downtown Artists Development Association
Former Board Member Los Angeles Center Business Improvement District
Former Board Member Central City East Association
Former Board Member Downtown Industrial Business Improvement District
Former Board Member Grand Performances
Former Board Member and Volunteer, All Children Great and Small Pre-School
Volunteer, Temple Israel of Hollywood Day School
Principal, DGM Consulting
Former Analyst, Chief Administrative Office, County of Los Angeles
Former Analyst, Office of Mayor Richard Riordan
Volunteer, Silver Lake Independent Jewish Community Center Preschool
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Member, National Association of Clinical Social Workers
Participant, Cedar’s Sinai Two Year Interdisciplinary Course on Children created and directed by Connie Lillas, Ph.D.
Former Regional Director for Jewish Family Service South Bay Mental Health Center
Former volunteer, Vistas for Children
Board Member, Temple Menorah of Redondo Beach
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Member National Association of Social Workers
Playwright, writer for film and television
Owner/manager of residential rental property
Volunteer, The Oaks School
Volunteer, The Oaks Elementary School
Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, Private Practice
Child Development Specialist, Early Childhood Parenting Center
Reiger Service Award for Program Excellence, Los Angeles Child Guidance Clinic
Former Therapist, Cedar Sinai Medical Center
Member, California Association of Marriage Family Therapists
Member, American Association of Marriage Family Therapists
Member, Global Association for Interpersonal Neurobiology Studies
Anja Stadlemann-Wright, Secretary
Producer/Writer (TV, feature films)
Former Production Supervisor/Production Manager (documentaries, TV, Features, Commercials)
Former Development Executive, Terra Film Productions, Vienna, Austria
Former Script Supervisor/Assistant Director (TV, Features)
Volunteer, Walther School
Volunteer, Larchmont Charter School
Volunteer, Various Environmental Organizations
Volunteer, All Children Great & Small, Pre School
Past Board President, All Children Great and Small, Pre School
Volunteer, The Oaks Elementary School
Rebecca L. Weiker
Former Coordinator of Evaluation, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles
Former Board Treasurer, All Children Great and Small Preschool
Volunteer, Oaks School
Carletta D. Woods
Principal, Carletta Woods Consulting
Former Contracts Unit Manager, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority
Echo Parenting & Education gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the following funders:
The Ahmanson Foundation
Best Start Metro LA
The Carl & Roberta Deutsch Foundation
First 5 LA
John Gogian Family Foundation
The Menard Family Foundation
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
S. Mark Taper Foundation
The Aaroe Associates Charitable Foundation
The Ahmanson Foundation
The Annenberg Foundation
The Leo Buscaglia Foundation
The California Endowment
The Capital Group Companies
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Foundation
Children’s Institute Inc.
Crail Johnson Foundation
Dwight Stuart Youth Foundation
The Eisner Foundation
Entertainment Industry Foundation
Family Help Fund of the Liberty Hill Foundation
Kaiser Permanente Foundation
Roth Family Foundation
United Way of New York City
J.B. and Emily Van Nuys Charities
Programs & Services
Based on the latest scientific research about children’s brain development, our classes teach parents how to set respectful, clear limits, build emotional intelligence, and much more. There are many ways for parents to learn effective, empathy-based parenting methods at Echo Parenting & Education, including:
* Saturday morning Parenting Classes in English and Spanish (child care is available while mom and dad attend class!)
* Parent Support Groups for mothers and fathers
* Private Parenting Classes in homes, schools, churches or other venues.
* Special Topics Series
* Master Classes on various topics
* Parent Coaching
Our highly skilled staff lead workshops for professionals in many different fields. We often design training programs for agency staff based on the specific needs of the group. Call or visit our web site for more details! Some of our professional workshops are:
* Family Mental Health. A six hour training for therapists and social workers based on attachment theory, interpersonal neurobiology, trauma informed care and more. Six continuing education units.
* Parent Educator Certification Program. An eight month training in Echo Parenting & Education’s unique parenting curriculum.
* Classroom Management through Connection and Compassion. A sixteen hour intensive workshop for teachers. 1 LAUSD salary point is available.
* Annual Domestic Violence Conference and extensive training for Domestic Violence Shelter staff.
Echo Parenting & Education hosts a variety of community events, providing not only a place for our community to get together to talk about raising children, but also opportunities to eat, play, dance, sing and enjoy our diverse community! Join us for all of our community events, including:
* Community Day.
* Pumpkins for Peace. Non-scary Halloween fun!
* Family Dance Party.
* Festival of Childhood. Art making, music, dance, food, and community!
* Peace Day Picnic. Celebrating the international day of peace.