My years as an educator and parent only deepened my belief that
every family is on their own path.
Leading Educational Techniques Are the Basis for Individualized Training
Within each family, parents and children must find their own way and be allowed to let that happen on their own personal timelines. Still, there is a general system in place, whether you are in the public or private sector. There are strategies each person can learn that will result in a more rewarding and successful journey. My goal is to help parents and children develop these tools that will help them reach their greatest potential. In addition, consideration needs to be provided to educators. They work with so many families, are expected to meet countless requirements, and their jobs can become overwhelming.
Combining knowledge from superior professional organizations like Challenge Success and Mindful Schools with brain research and studies on brain health, as well as personal experience, has provided me with knowledge that can improve the experiences for all involved. It is upon this foundation that I have created my many programs for students, parents and educators.
Below, you can learn about the primary influences on my work.
The goal of Mindfulness in education is to lead the integration of secular mindfulness meditation into education processes. Participants will develop the skill of paying attention, on purpose, to their feelings and emotions, without judgment, and staying in the present time. The overall goal is to stop living on “automatic pilot” and to really pay attention to every part of our days.
Mindfulness training offers an awareness-building process that can address issues of anxiety, stress, and depression. It can also help one with an inability to focus, or inability to connect with friends, family, co-workers and students. The mindfulness approach also teaches how to manage emotions and improve empathy for self and others. Within the educational experience, these basic benefits can offer great improvements on many fronts that lead to better performance and happier students, parents and educators.
My personal mindfulness practice began in 2011. This was when the loss of one parent, the declining health of my remaining parent, and other personal and professional challenges collided with one another to create, for the first time in my life, situations that were truly beyond my abilities to cope. I knew I needed something more to help me manage the upsets, hurt, frustration, anger, and resentments that had built up and finally exploded. Mindfulness changed my life and I knew that anything this wonderful deserved to be shared by many, especially children. I have been involved in mindfulness and the Mindful Schools program since that time.
Mindfulness plays an integral part in all of my programs, but for those seeking mindfulness training, I offer several specific mindfulness classes, which can be taught to children or adults, individually or in group settings. Establishing a support system for a new practice allows the opportunity to question, share experiences, and grow together. I offer regularly scheduled group classes, or can arrange individual or group classes to fit your needs.
Challenge Success works with schools and families to develop research-based strategies that provide kids with the academic, social, and emotional skills needed to succeed now and in the future.
Challenge Success promotes change in schools and families to offset the fast-paced, high-pressure culture and strong emphasis on grades and testing that students face today. They value helping kids become resilient, successful, purposeful contributors. To do so, Challenge Success focuses on the components of success that are not defined by grades and test results: independence, adaptability, ethical behavior and choices, resiliency, enthusiasm about life and learning. Challenge Success is designed to support parents and educators, so they, in turn, can help their students find balance, strengthen self-awareness, and become motivated, critical thinkers in the face of the many challenges life will bring.
I became aware of Challenge Success (then operating under the name of Stressed Out Students –SOS) in 2004 during my sixth year as principal of a private K-8 school. The academics had become so competitive that middle school students were experiencing an unacceptable level of stress. Involvement with Challenge Success continued throughout my tenure as principal, and into the next year when I mentored a new school, served as a panel member, and co-led a conference session. I remain committed to the principles held by Challenge Success.
Why should anyone have to work harder than necessary to do what they need to do? Would you try to lift a car without using a crane or a pulley system? Brain research teaches the strategies that will help each person reach their greatest level of success. Every person has his own learning style, yet there are strategies that can be employed that can improve the pace and depth of learning for students. Children need only be taught these “tricks” to experience a more rewarding learning experience. Strategies in note taking, using graphic organizers, breaking assignments into much smaller pieces: These are just a few of the ways to improve the way a child absorbs and applies material.
Learning study and organization strategies will enable a child to more efficiently learn coursework and experience greater achievement. Improved self-esteem and confidence, resulting from these greater successes, can positively benefit other areas of the child’s experience beyond the school day. Taking the time to teach children how the brain works, in a simplified fashion, and the methods that will take advantage of the brain’s abilities can make the difference in a child’s learning experience.
My interest in brain research grew from watching children with learning challenges; their academic struggles often led to social and emotional difficulties, as well. The pain experienced by these children and their families caused me to explore learning styles and strategies that have proven useful and effective time and again.