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We need to offer skills and strategies to teachers and students alike that target the nervous system where we find the roots of toxic stress. We can re-train the mind to respond differently when stress arises. Mindfulness training is our approach to the growing need to equip our students, teachers and community with skills, strategies and mindset for coping with the growing demands of school and life. Our training offerings will support educators in the development of their own mindfulness practice, which is an essential first step, as well as deepen understanding of the ways to implement mindfulness with students.
The Amazing Brain
Centuries of research and recent technological advances have begun to peel away the mystery of the organ that defines each one of us…our brains. As new discoveries allow us to better understand this complex organ, it is vital that we acknowledge that learning, memories and emotions all work together.
As humans, we can all benefit from understanding the rudimentary functions of the brain. For instance, why do some of our experiences become lasting memories while others seem to disappear as quickly as they have been presented to us? Further, why do seemingly insignificant social and/or emotional issues cause many of us to have out of proportion reactions?
Perhaps one of the most exciting discoveries about our brains is that we have the potential to learn new information and re-wire our brains during our entire life span. Life-long learning isn’t just a catch phrase, and you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! Understanding how the brain learns and concurrently understanding the impact of anxiety, trauma, joy and stress, etc. on learning can facilitate interpersonal and instructional strategies that improve learning and increase resiliency in our students and employees.
Trauma-Informed Instruction is defined by the Social-Emotional Learning Goals set by the New York State Education Department. Trauma-Informed Instruction is rooted in developing the whole child as a multifaceted learner and building capacity for self-awareness. Our trainings offer educators an opportunity to understand how trauma impacts student learning and outcomes, strategies to implement into the classroom and additional resources as research continues to reveal the impacts of trauma.
The Basics of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the mind/body connection of life, being conscious of our thoughts, feelings and actions, to help us focus on being in the present. So, why do we need mindfulness in education? More and more we are seeing the impact of toxic stress on our entire school community. Healthy stress is a natural part of life and necessary to push us to grow and develop. But toxic stress impairs attention, emotional regulation, sleep and learning readiness for our students. Over the long term, it can lead to serious mental and physical health issues. For teachers, prolonged exposure to toxic stress leads to decreased productivity and creativity as well as increased frustration, anxiety and burnout.