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FEBRUARY 2022

POM COMMUNITY NEWS

PoM Educator Raising Funds for Student Snacks

Christina Simonetti-Benson is a Kindergarten teacher at Andrew J. Morrison Elementary School in Philadelphia where the students are nearly all from low-income households. She is part of a wonderful team of educators teaching The Peace of Mind Curriculum for the first time this year. Christina spoke at our Conference last week about how Peace of Mind is supporting her students' social and emotional well-being. Yes! 


But she and her colleague Mrs. Yorkus have had to turn to Donor's Choose to meet another pressing need: snacks for their young students.  They say:

"My class of vivacious kindergarteners get very hungry during the day. With lunch being so early in our schedule, we are requesting snacks to have on hand for our 'brain break' in the afternoon. I know that when my students have food in their bellies they are more eager and excited to learn. Please consider donating to this project! Thank you!" - Mrs. Benson

Donate to Ms. Benson's Project
"My amazing kindergarteners are hungry! I have 16 wonderful students that get very hungry throughout the day. With our schedule, my students eat at 10:30 in the morning. I am requesting some snacks for our afternoon snack break. Thank you for considering a donation to this project!" - Mrs. Yorkus
Donate to Ms. Yorkus' Project
Can we share your needs in our newsletter too?  Please let us know if you have a Donor's Choose page we can feature in an upcoming edition.

New Book Helps Youngest Students with Testing and Masking

Early childhood educator and author Allison Soffer has just written an essential gem of a book to help very young children deal with the challenges of masking and testing at school.  We're so grateful to count Allison as Peace of Mind Advisor! 

"Bella and Tiger helps young children see themselves in the current phase of the pandemic, when children regularly wear masks and receive Covid tests to attend school. 
Of course, children have important feelings about this new reality. Covid testing can be invasive, unfamiliar, and frightening to young children who crave safety and a sense of control.  Bella and Tiger gives voice to children's real concerns within the context of a playful story.  A musical twist within the story offers a familiar song as a means of distraction, comfort and control."
Download your free copy of Bella and Tiger

Laurel Hill E.S. Students Learn MORE About Their Brains!

Laurel Hill Elementary School in Lorton VA is implementing The Peace of Mind Curriculum for the first time this year. Brain science is a foundational component of Peace of Mind. Counselor Kori Coleman's students wanted to know even more about their brains and had a lot of really good questions!   Kori reached out to us to see if Peace of Mind had resources that could help answer them.  We do! 

Dr. Elizabeth Hoffman, neuroscientist and Peace of Mind Board Member, delivered a workshop for Kori's students that covered: what our brains are made of (around 150 billion brain cells!), how these cells communicate with each other (through trillions of intercellular connections!), and what makes us all unique. Students learned that emotions start in the brain and that we are evolutionarily wired to sometimes give more weight to negative events than positive ones. Building on lessons in The Peace of Mind Curriculum, they discussed strategies to overcome this “negativity bias."  Students ended the session with the realization that we all have a superpower that allows us to change our own brains through intentional practice.  What a day!  Thank you so much for the opportunity, Kori and Laurel Hill community! 

Find out how to bring a workshop to your school in the "Upcoming Events" section below!

UPCOMING EVENTS

Introduction to Mindfulness Course for Adults

FREE * 4 Tuesday Sessions: Feb 15, Feb 22nd, Mar 1st, Mar 8th * 7 to 8 pm EST 

Are you looking to start (or re-start) your own mindfulness practice? Would you benefit from having simple tools and practices to manage stress and improve your ability to be present in your classroom and at home?

This 4-part introductory course, taught by MMTCP-trained meditator and Peace of Mind board member Chapin Springer, explores the fundamentals of mindfulness while offering meditation practices to help reconnect the mind, body, and heart in our everyday lives – and particularly in times of stress and anxiety! This course is open to anyone seeking to learn more about the foundations of mindfulness and how to apply it in our daily lives.

Register for Intro to Mindfulness

Virtual Community Circles Start again this month!

Tuesdays Feb 15, Mar 15, Apr 19, May 17 * 4:45 pm to 6:00 pm EST

 

Peace of Mind Virtual Community Circles (VCCs) provide a monthly opportunity for small groups of educators to meet virtually for guided mindfulness practice, to find support in teaching Peace of Mind, and to build community.  Peace educators and mindfulness and cross-cultural facilitators Dave Trachtenberg and Jelena Popovic facilitate our sessions and guide this program.  Free to participate in Spring 2022; we invite you to consider a $10 donation per session. Space is limited; please register today if you are interested!

"After a full day of virtual school, it was hard to show up for one more zoom meeting, but it was so worth it and I felt so much better in my heart, mind and soul."  - VCC participant
 

Register for Virtual Community Circles

Brain Science Workshops for Grades 5-8

We are excited to announce a new offering for students in grades 5-8 and their teachers to learn more about their amazing brains! Brain science is an important component of The Peace of Mind Curriculum beginning in pre-kindergarten all the way through middle school. Kids love learning about how their brains work! Research has even shown that when kids understand that their brain function is dynamic and responsive to their environments, they are more likely to take on new challenges, like noticing and managing big emotions. Knowing that their brains change with repeated practice makes them feel empowered to keep practicing to get stronger.
 
What’s on Your Mind? Workshops answer common questions that kids have, like: What is my brain made of? If we all have the same brain parts, what makes us different? What happens in my brain when I feel an emotion? If I keep practicing a new skill, like mindfulness or dribbling a basketball, does that change my brain?
 
Interested in hosting a What’s on Your Mind Workshop at your school? Click here to get more information and to sign up.
Brain Science Workshop for your 5th-8th Graders

MONTHLY MINDFULNESS PRACTICE

Visualize a Peaceful Place: one way to calm your nervous system. Try it yourself or with your kids!

CONFERENCE RECAP

What an Amazing Day! 

Educators from across the country and around the world gathered virtually for Peace of Mind Conference 2022 last month.  We opened with music by Peace of Mind educator Oscar Ebro-Nebot.  Beautiful!  We heard moving, insightful talks from educators, parents and students about what our kids need now, how The Peace of Mind Curriculum is supporting kids every day through different kinds of implementation scenarios, and the urgent work of applying mindfulness for social justice. We were blown away by the beauty of what was shared by every speaker, truly.

If you couldn't make it, or want to re-visit one of the panels, no worries. Visit our website to watch the full recording, find the agenda, and read about our wonderful speakers.
 

GRATITUDE

Thank you to everyone who made our Conference possible.


Thank you to our amazing speakers, educators, parents and students who shared their wisdom with us: Christina Simonetti Benson, Sophia Carré, Julia Dennis, Ben Frey, Kelly Gilstrap, Elizabeth Hoffman, Lmuel Filmon Kiros, Jordan Love, Syreetta McArthur, Lauren Reeder, Margarita Robledo, Nick Sargent, Jackie Snowden, Chapin Springer, Dave Trachtenberg, Lynn Turner, Liz Whisnant, Iris Wilkins, and Jane Wilkins.

Extra shout outs to Chapin Springer and Dave Trachtenberg who led such beautiful opening and closing mindfulness practices, and also to Elizabeth Hoffman for keeping our tech running smoothly, Darrel Jodrey for taking notes, and Subrat Biswal for being there.

We are so grateful to our donors who made it possible to make this year's longer conference "pay what you can" and to offer honorariums to all of our speakers for the first time. Big thanks to The Bender Foundation, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, and all of our very generous individual contributors. 

Last but not least, thank you to all who came!  It wouldn't have been a Peace of Mind Conference without you!  Thank you!

In peace,
Cheryl, Linda and The Peace of Mind team 

 
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