Annual Peace of Mind Conference
Mindfulness * Learning * Community
By educators, for educators
Annual Gathering of Peace of Mind Educators
Saturday, January 28th
We gathered in-person in Washington D.C., and on zoom, to dive into experiential, arts-based approaches in the Peace of Mind Curriculum. We’re looking forward to having some fun, learning from each other, building community, and finding new insights and inspiration!
As ever, our goal was to help you help your kids learn about mindfulness and their brains so they can develop the life skills to solve conflicts and face challenges in their own lives and in the world with kindness, courage and compassion. Here are the highlights!
10:00 Welcome and Opening Mindfulness Practice
10:25 Opening Workshop: Act it Out!
Why and how experiential approaches help in teaching Mindfulness, Brain Science, Conflict Resolution and Social Justice. Demonstration with Students and Hands on Experience.
Through skits, role plays and the practice of Tableau, we’ll explore the connections between mindfulness, neuroscience, relationship building and peaceful conflict resolution. We’ll start with mindfulness practice and the why and how of arts-based experiential learning. Peace of Mind Curriculum author and Peace Teacher Linda Ryden and her students will demonstrate using a fun and interactive role play to help kids notice big emotions and solve common childhood challenges. Participants will have a chance to experience the art of Tableau with experienced arts-based integration educator Jackie Snowden and will learn practices to take right back to the classroom. We’re also going to have some fun!
11:30 Choose One Workshop
A: Let's Play!
Arts-based experiential approaches to teaching mindfulness-based social and emotional skills in Early Childhood.
Join Peace of Mind Early Childhood Curriculum Author Jillian Diesner and Early Childhood Educators Marquita McBride and Carmen Stewart for conversation and active experience of how puppet play and other arts-based approaches help our youngest children learn mindfulness skills to help manage big emotions and the related brain science, practice kindness and gratitude, and solve conflicts peacefully. Explore ways to engage children in mindfulness practice and learn how to take a trauma-sensitive approach. Come ready to have fun, too!
B: What's on Your Mind?
Taking an arts-based, sensory approach to teaching mindfulness-related brain science in 4th through 8th grade. Those who work with other ages are welcome too!
When kids learn the brain science that explains why they feel a big emotion and why mindfulness helps, they are inspired to develop the skills to help them notice and manage how they respond to their feelings. Kids feel empowered and excited when they learn how their brains work, and they often want to know MORE! In this workshop, Peace of Mind educator Kelly Gilstrap will engage participants in role plays and skits from the Peace of Mind Curriculum to experience first hand how arts-based approaches support teaching about the brain. Neuroscientist Dr. Elizabeth Hoffman will take it form there, offering an overview of the brain, including its organization into distinct parts that all communicate with each other in unique ways; an introduction to how emotions are experienced in the brain and why we sometimes give more weight to negative events than positive ones, and tips for how to be brain change makers!
C: Let's Work it Out!
Arts-based Experiential Approaches to Teaching Conflict Resolution in Elementary School.
Arts-based approaches like role-plays and skits can help kids practice ways of responding to challenging situations when the stakes are low so that they have the tools when they need to respond when it counts. In this interactive workshop, Peace of Mind founder and curriculum author Linda Ryden and 4th grade Peace of Mind teacher Jared Catapano take participants into an interactive exploration of the Peace of Mind conflict resolution model called The Conflict C.A.T. (Calm Down, Apologize, Toolbox), which brings together mindfulness skills and brain science, and learn how to offer experiential lessons that engage kids and equip them to become peacemakers.
1:20 pm Afternoon Workshop: Preparing Ourselves to Teach about Social Justice
How can we prepare to engage our students in conversations about challenging social justice issues with curiosity and compassion? We need to start with ourselves. Dr. Laura Yee and educator Syreetta McArthur will guide us in exploration, activity and conversation around our relationship to topics in the Peace of Mind Social Justice Curriculum such as unconscious bias, gender and racial stereotypes, bullying, identity, and standing up for ourselves. Peace of Mind curriculum author and Peace Teacher Linda Ryden will help us experience first-hand the arts-based components in Peace of Mind social justice lessons. We will discuss the do’s and don’ts of dramatizing difficult issues and explore culturally appropriate, trauma-sensitive, mindful and compassionate ways to support students’ learning.
2:40 pm Share-out, Reflections and Conversation
Peace of Mind Board Member Liz Whisnant served as principal of the District of Public Schools’ Horace Mann ES from 2005 to 2022. Horace Mann is one of only four schools in the nation to receive the US Department of Education Blue Ribbon School of Excellence five times. In 2008, Liz co-founded with several principal colleagues the District of Columbia Collaborative for Change (DC3), a reform structure for school improvement in DCPS whose mission is to craft schools that are inspiring places to teach and learn. She currently serves on several boards, including the National Network of Schools in Partnership, The Theatre Lab, and Peace of Mind.
Big Thank You to our Conference Volunteers!
Aida Belay is a senior at Jackson-Reid High School and a new volunteer for the Peace of Mind Conference. She was born and raised in Washington D.C. and enjoys reading, swimming, and hanging out with friends and family. She spends time as a peer educator for the Young Women’s Project, managing school publications, and caring for plants.
Shawn Donnelly is a friend of Peace of Mind and loves to support their efforts. She has lived in Washington D.C. for the past thirty years where she raised two amazing young adults! her days are spent enjoying time with her husband, learning family history with her 91-year old Mum, bike riding, playing her banjo, cooking and traveling. She also serves as Mentor to a college freshman.
Peace of Mind Board Member Subrat Biswal was a researcher in the field of lasers and optics for over ten years. He has experience conducting theoretical, analytical, and experimental research at government laboratories (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Naval Research Laboratory), academia, and the private sector. During the past decade, Subrat has been focused on his greatest and most rewarding challenge— raising his two spirited girls. Subrat has found mindfulness to be a vital tool in improving parenting. Wanting to spread these benefits to more families, Subrat has helped to bring mindfulness and SEL programming to Maury Elementary School on Capitol Hill. He also has volunteered as a tutor for children in math, reading, and STEM related activities. Subrat enjoys running, biking, hiking, and taking deep breaths with his globe-trotting wife, Nisha.
Darrel Jodrey is motivated by the pursuit of meaning and a desire to give back. She’s found purpose in her various life roles, among them: mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend and public health advocate. She currently serves as Executive Director, Federal Affairs for Johnson & Johnson and is an active engaged Peace of Mind Board member.