Volume 1, Issue 13 | December 2021
HeartMind e-News: Teach, Learn, Lead
A monthly publication dedicated to trauma-informed, compassionate school practices that help educators, students, and families move toward a sense of wholeness and well-being
Innovations and Investments
Today, we see a huge need to increase mental health supports in schools. Many students struggled during COVID, and this fall has been a difficult time for students, parents, and educators. However, the recent school shootings add another layer of concern about safety in schools and our children’s welfare.

In this month’s HeartMind eNews, we have recommendations for alleviating trauma surrounding violence in schools. We also provide guidance for two other “investments” that can strengthen students’ skills and also improve working conditions for staff. While we could have chosen many innovations to make our point, this month we discuss two very diverse topics: “language nutrition and reading” and “decision making.” 

These articles provide strategies to increase the efficacy of instruction, to further parent involvement, and to do more to support teachers as they spend long hours under less than ideal conditions. So, our investments are not only for our students, but also for teachers and staff. During these stressful times, we must act with more conscious awareness of how we can authentically bolster school spirit – however, we also must continue to implement innovations that enhance academic learning and build skills that will benefit students for a lifetime.
Featured Articles
Our HeartMind e-News connects the relationship of heart centered learning and mindfulness to current research and circumstances. Our goal is to provide our readers with concrete opportunities to further implementation of heart centered practices in their schools and districts. These opportunities will include suggestions for reflection, journaling, dialoguing, and compassionate classroom activities. These exercises often start with adults, working on our own knowledge and skills, before we turn to students.
Ending School Violence, Investing in the Well-Being of our Students
Nicole R. Benquechea, CEI Intern, and Meghan Wenzel, CEI Writer
"It may be imperative to slow down a bit and truly engage with kids," Dr. Christine Mason, an assistant clinical professor at Yale University and the founder of the Center for Educational Improvement, says. "We need to talk to kids, listen to them, and help them make sense of the world right now." (US News and World Report, November 17, 2021)

Decision Making in the Age of COVID
Sophia Katz, CEI Intern, and Christine Mason, CEI Executive Director
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it forever. In addition to the nearly 5 million (and counting) lives lost, 114 million people lost their jobs, just in 2020 alone. The International Labour Organization estimates that the working hours lost (compared to pre-pandemic levels) is equivalent to 255 million full-time jobs, leading to $3.7 trillion in lost labor income (Richter, 2021). 

How is the world dealing with all this uncertainty? More specifically, how are individuals coping with these losses?

Shared Reading, Language Nutrition, Vocabulary Expansion, and Cognitive Development
Tin Nguyen, CEI Intern, and Christine Mason, CEI Executive Director
In an article published in the November 2021 issue of HeartMind eNews, language nutrition was introduced as a concept that captures “any meaningful interactions between children and their caregivers that are rich in language” (Zauche et al., 2016). 

Why would educators be interested in increasing language-rich interactions? No matter which grade level you teach, consider the wide variations in students’ ability to skillfully and artfully use language, whether it be in writing, or in conversation.

Upcoming Events and Announcements

Cultivating Resilience Podcast

A podcast series that showcases thought leaders and school leaders at all levels who are working to lessen the impact of trauma that students bring with them to school.

Search "Cultivating Resilience: A Whole Community Approach to
Alleviating Trauma in Schools" on your favorite podcast provider (Apple, Spotify, Google, Amazon, Stitcher, etc.)


A tool to help you plan to alleviate trauma.

Round Table

Educators and district leaders share their wisdom on mental health and well-being during and after the pandemic. Learn how they are allocating resources to strengthen the resilience of students and further individual and collective self-care in schools.

Available Now!

Cultivating Happiness, a new book by Dr. Christine Mason, Jeffrey Donald, Krishna Kaur Khalsa, Michele M. Rivers Murphy, and Valerie Brown.

Here's what readers are saying:

“This book is a much-needed roadmap for educators who instinctively knows that they must teach more than academics. It provides a wealth of self-help tools for teachers, students, families, and others. Most importantly, it engages us as educators to implement these practices ourselves; to meet the changing needs of modern education, even as we realize that all of us deserve a chance to learn more about ourselves and to experience the mind-body harmony that these practices support. This is all a part of the “joy factor,” to shine — to feel the internal glow of being in sync with our breath, moment-by-moment, day-by-day, year-after-year, for a lifetime.”

Ruschelle S. Reuben
Chief of Teaching and Learning, Montgomery County Public Schools

“An excellent, informative, and well-researched book. This is a must-read for all future and current teachers, counselors, and administrators. The book is well organized and without question one of the best books written on the topic. The book is a valuable guide to improve teacher training, schools, and personal happiness. Cultivating Happiness and Well Being Through Meditation, Mindfulness, and Movement will be added to my classes’ reading lists.”

Dr. Sandra McElroy
Professor of Early Childhood Learning, Pine Manor Campus, Boston College

Learn more about Dr. Mason’s recent and upcoming books and availability on her website www.christine-mason.com