For over 50 years, Ruth has been an advocate of social justice for younger human beings, both locally and internationally — in schools, community groups, service agencies and other family centered organizations.
Although her availability for first time individual and organizational consultations is limited, Ruth continues to promote Parenting with Nonviolence through teaching, training, program development, and parent support.
Using the tools of observation and dialogue, she provides assistance to early childhood centers, helping teachers and supervisors deepen their practice of empathy and their support of individual children’s emotional needs.
When working with schools, Ruth emphasizes the importance of emotional intelligence and the practice of self-regulation in order to help teachers cultivate community within the classroom, and to encourage staff to build an empathetic learning environment for all students.
Ruth also guides practice-change based on the philosophy of nonviolence, helping many nonprofits shift their organizational and management culture from a power-over system to a more trauma sensitive, power-with work environment.
For parents, Ruth facilitates several long-running parent support groups, both onsite and online. She no longer teaches parent classes but provides support and training to a broad network of parent educators.
Ruth currently works with the following organizations:
Center for the Pacific Asian Family, an organization dedicated to addressing domestic violence and sexual assault in the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
Child Lane offers Early Care and Education, Nutrition, and Family Support Services to the Long Beach and Harbor communities. Their mission is to provide care in an environment where play is valued and children are supported to be their full potential.
Elysian Heights Elementary School (LAUSD) is a Visual and Performing Arts elementary school whose mission is to provide a safe, nurturing, and child-centered academic environment where children develop the creativity and problem-solving skills necessary to be compassionate, curious, and responsible leaders of the world. Elysian Heights serves the communities of Greater Echo Park.
Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts seeks to engage children in an inspiring, challenging, and civically active educational experience that embraces learning through the arts.
Nefesh is an open-hearted spiritual community welcoming all of the identities that make up who we are and who we love. Born in the multicultural beauty of LA’s east side neighborhoods, Nefesh cultivates empathy, love, and justice.
Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Since 2009, Ruth has traveled annually to Aotearoa to work with Te Mauri Tau, a holistic education organization grounded in kaupapa-Māori (Māori centered principles and philosophy) and located in Whaingaroa (Raglan). After the first few trainings with a group of parent educators, Ruth helped Te Mauri Tau develop a Parenting with Nonviolence curriculum specifically designed for the Māori community. In 2011, the Poutiria te Aroha program was born. A discussion with the late Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira, a Māori intellectual and activist, inspired the name for their program through her description of the kaupapa — “Poupoua, tiritiria te aroha ki roto ki te whānau.” Poupoua, tiritiria express the act of implanting aroha (unconditional love) within whānau (family, extended family), so that it can be the foundation for all of whānau interactions.
Guided by the practice of Parenting with Nonviolence, Poutiria te Aroha draws strength from the principles of the nonviolence movement and te ao Māori (the Māori worldview). By using te Reo Māori (Māori language), the program seeks to reaffirm te ao Māori, and to reawaken the cultural values and tikanga (traditions) of their tupuna (Māori ancestors) within whānau Māori, especially those that reflect raising children with aroha.
Poutiria te Aroha began its whole-community approach in Whaingaroa, subsequently extending its learning and support programs to other whānau. By strengthening the collective relationships within which whānau care for children in homes, schools, etc., Poutiria te Aroha works to instill the practice of connection and empathy for all whānau Māori throughout their communities.
With Te ao Māori and the philosophy of nonviolence at its foundation, Poutiria te Aroha integrates practical child-raising strategies to share with parents and caregivers, and with the educators and service providers who support whānau.
Ruth continues to travel to New Zealand to support and teach Parenting with Nonviolence in the Whaingaroa Community and throughout Aotearoa.
Parenting Matters started out as a small group of parents who were inspired by what they had observed in a local Montessori school. The group met regularly to discuss how to integrate the Montessori principles at home. As interest from other parents grew, the group hosted workshops with a range of topics. Here, parents could ask questions and learn about raising children in ways that were a departure from the more traditional, sometimes authoritarian model. In response to the needs of a growing community of parents who wanted to care for children differently, Parenting Matters became an official organization in 2004. It created forums for parents of children of all ages, drawing from the teachings of Maria Montessori, Alfie Kohn, Adele Faber and others.
Convinced that there must be others outside of India doing similar work, they researched to find who those individuals or groups might be. In 2013, Parenting Matters learned of Ruth Beaglehole and the practice of Parenting with Nonviolence. Drawn to the idea of raising children in nonviolence, they invited her to come to Chennai and train the Parenting Matters facilitators in the curriculum written by Ruth and her daughter, (now Rabbi) Susan Goldberg.
With a dedicated team of certified educators in Parenting with Nonviolence, Parenting Matters continued to grow. They opened their own office and training center for parents and offered many off-site classes in a variety of settings — schools, workplaces, community groups, etc. Parenting Matters in the community meant teaching more parents and caregivers a practice of raising children that was less about external control and more about connection.
Hearing that Ruth had written a new curriculum, or guide, Parenting Matters invited her to return to Chennai in 2018. Ruth spent three weeks training Parenting Matters parent educators in the new guide, Principles and Practices of Parenting with Nonviolence: A Compassionate Guide to Caring for Children. She was accompanied by Kim Pesenti, who had helped write the guide. During the daylong sessions, many discussions centered around the the social justice theme of the guide, especially as it pertained to the cultural values and the social structures that shape daily life in India.
Seeing a need to for content that was specific to Indian culture and traditions, the founders and educators of Parenting Matters have written their own curriculum. Under Ruth’s guidance, they have integrated information such as: how a parent’s relationship with their child can influence brain development; how understanding one’s own narrative can help adults become a more connected parents; how self-regulation and understanding needs and feelings can support a child in their social, emotional and intellectual development.
The women of Parenting Matter have been inspired by Ruth’s role as a teacher-activist, and by her advocacy of social justice for younger human beings. According to Parenting Matters, Ruth “has kindled a fire in us to be an ally of the child, to understand and support the child, and to help build parenting communities wherever we go.”