About Us

The Art of Gentle Teaching

Providence Center empowers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve what they want in life and establish their role in our greater community. The foundation for our work is the relationship between the individual and their caregiver who will support them to reach their goals. Gentle Teaching is the process of building a trusting and meaningful relationship that nurtures learning and growth and is a philosophy we practice throughout our organization.

A Trusting Relationship Is the First Step

Gentle Teaching is based on the psychology of human interdependence. It is a non-violent therapeutic approach for serving those with intellectual and developmental disabilities which helps to empower individuals by creating a trusting bond between them and their mentoring staff. It emphasizes and explores a human’s fundamental need to feel safe and valued. Once someone feels safe and valued, they then can move beyond the familiar and take steps towards building a life of value and purpose.

Gentle Teaching invites all of us to engage meaningfully in the relationships that are a part of life and views every person as invaluable because of the lessons that they can teach us about ourselves.

Give A Gift Today!

Donate now to help support Providence Center's dynamic programs and services. When you make a gift to Providence Center, whether it’s a donation or the gift of volunteer time, you are helping to enrich the lives of 500 of our community’s residents. There are many ways you can help the men and women with intellectual and developmental disabilities who count on Providence Center.

Values of Gentle Teaching

Gentle teaching reminds us that every individual has dignity and worth and that human relationships are of central importance.

The relationships formed between the caregiver and the individual require companionship. However, cognitive impairments or challenging behaviors can make it more difficult for certain individuals to experience a feeling of companionship. Many individuals have experienced some form of trauma and, as a result, they may not feel safe. Being a Gentle Teacher means we work alongside the individual in times of difficulty keeping them safe instead of trying to control them and make them comply with our demands. There are four pillars of gentle teaching: Teaching the individual to feel safe with us; to engage with us; to feel unconditionally valued by us; and to value us unconditionally.  By developing this trusting and safe relationship, the individual experiences true learning and growth which will enhance their overall quality of life.

Leading the Way

Providing supportive, trusting relationships has been a Providence Center hallmark since our founding. Providence Center has re-emphasized this approach with a focus on measuring progress in both the individual’s life and in the effectiveness of their caregiver. Gentle Teaching requires that each person involved in the meaningful relationship is doing their very best to obtain outcomes and then measures the steps taken on the path of achievement.

Gentle Teaching is widely used in Europe and with a handful of providers in the United States. Providence Center is proud to be leading the way and is being called on to mentor other groups who want to explore this more holistic approach to serving those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Providence Center: Shaping Lives, Creating Futures in Anne Arundel County, Maryland

At Providence Center, our mission is to provide the most comprehensive services possible that allow individuals with disabilities to enjoy increased self-determination in leading a more independent, valuable and functioning role in society. Gentle Teaching encourages the supportive relationships that will empower them along their path in life.

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