Volume 1, Issue 12 | November 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
Stimulating Brain Development in Early Childhood
As we continue the extended transition back to school this fall, educators continue to be concerned about the impact of trauma, and children's well-being, as well as their academic achievement.

The two articles in this month’s HeartMind e-News both rely on neuroscientific evidence that supports positive ways to increase children’s well-being and readiness to learn. This month Nicole Larsen describes how neural connectivity is impacted by trauma and how educators can alleviate that trauma and promote cognition and academic learning through providing a compassionate school culture. Tin Nguyen, in the second article on Language Nutrition, describes practical strategies that teachers, parents, and other caretakers can use to help further brain development that supports language growth and development. Both articles emphasize positive approaches that can nurture positive relationships – which are so essential for all of us.
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.
The Implications of Neuroplasticity & Trauma for Education
Nicole Larsen, CEI Intern
Did you know that we are born with almost all the neurons we will ever have in our lives? Neurons are the cells in our brain that transmit information – they are responsible for everything we are able to do (Graham & Forstadt, 2011). However, neurons are just one piece of the puzzle; it is the connections between these neurons that really make our brains work. Neural connections form and change as we grow and develop, and childhood is an essential time for this development (Graham & Forstadt, 2011). In fact, before the age of three, children’s brains produce more than a million neural connections each second (Zero to Three, n.d.)! Read more here.

Language Nutrition
Tin Nguyen, CEI Intern
Language nutrition is crucial in nourishing children’s language development. By “language nutrition,” Zauche and colleagues (2016) mean any meaningful interactions between children and their caregivers that are rich in language. We can think of language nutrition the same way we consider nutrition in its general sense.
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 December 2021:

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:

“Educators will find much inspiration and support in this book, one that offers insightful and practical ways to support student’s emotional health. It is our bodies that hold trauma and it is through our bodies that we can find release and emotional rest. This compassionate work helps educators with easy to implement strategies and activities that use the breath and body to create change from the inside-out. The goal of this comprehensive resource is to not only lower anxiety and challenging behaviours, but to create learning communities that further joy, wonder, and happiness."

Hannah Beach
Coauthor, Reclaiming Our Students: Why Children Are More Anxious, Aggressive, and Shut Down Than Ever—And What We Can Do About It

"A superb resource! Supported by research, the authors have offered a treasure chest of well-structured mindfulness-based activities, practices, materials, and frameworks for educators, yoga teachers, and students. The authors seek not only incremental improvement in student mental and physical well-being, they have offered a practical roadmap for high-performance functioning, integrating mind, body, and heart. Reflecting the authors’ social justice and equity perspectives, the text and the photos are racially and culturally inclusive.”
John Bell, author of YouthBuild’s North Star, a founding staff and former vice president of YouthBuild USA, creator of the Academy for Transformation, and a current Buddhist Dharma

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