Mindfulness – Social and Emotional Learning

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Mindfulness in School

When the Specials classes began last fall, and for the duration of this school year, the E1 students in Ms. Wisley’s class participated in a 45 minute weekly class on the subject of Social and Emotional Learning, titled Social Problem Solving.  To start mindfulness in school the focus of the class was on increasing awareness of self and others, and on gaining the skills of self regulation, management of feelings, and relationship building. The specific topics covered in the experiential class were feelings awareness, following directions, active listening, communication styles and skills, body language, physiological signs of stress (flight or fight response), breathing, progressive relaxation and other techniques for stress management, the steps of conflict resolution, and empathy.

The feedback from students was very positive about the class, and each week the initial class time was set aside for students to report on how they had practiced what they had learned in the previous class.  By the end of the school year, there appeared to be a reduction in the amount, intensity and duration of interpersonal conflict between students, and an increase in group cohesion and a sense of community in the class. Many students also reported having successfully practiced the techniques at home, whether to cope with stressful situations or in dealing with sibling conflicts.

The plan for next year will be to continue these classes. One second grade student asked this week whether the topics for next year’s class will be the same or different than what they were taught this year, and stated she was looking forward to them already.

In the 2015-2016 school year, we will introduce the practice of Mindfulness to Mission. Mindfulness is defined as a particular way of paying attention by purposefully bringing awareness to one’s experience. Mindfulness can be applied to sensory experience, thoughts, and emotions by using sustained attention and noticing our experience without reacting. These are some of the evidence-based benefits of mindfulness:

Better focus and concentration
Increased sense of calm
Decreased stress & anxiety
Enhanced health
Improved impulse control
Increased self-awareness
Skillful responses to difficult emotions
Increased empathy and understanding of others
Development of natural conflict resolution skills

The Mindfulness Fundamentals and Curriculum Training courses will be taken this summer by Amy Malone through the Mindful Schools program. Mindful Schools is one of the leading organizations in the U.S. integrating mindfulness into education and youth mental health. Mindful Schools has provided online and in-person training to thousands of educators and mental health professionals across all 50 U.S. states and 60 plus countries, impacting approximately 250,000 youth globally to date. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindful Schools Advisor, stated: ‘Now there is a large and growing grassroots movement promoting mindfulness in primary and secondary education, and Mindful Schools is at the cutting edge of training educators to effectively integrate mindfulness practices and perspectives into their classrooms.’

A kindergarten teacher reported on her experience in bringing mindfulness to her classroom this way: “Mindfulness opens the mind to noticing, without judgment, how you feel, think, and interact with the world. My students have become grounded in a way I have never seen before. Their empathy for each other, kindness toward their world, and ability to focus is rarely seen in kindergarteners; but as we continue our mindful practice, these qualities grow more and more concrete.”

Research Study Summary

Mindfulness has been extensively researched and found to be effective across a wide range of populations. In the 2011-12 school year, Mindful Schools partnered with the University of California, Davis to conduct the largest randomized-controlled study to date on mindfulness and children, involving 937 children and 47 teachers in 3 Oakland public elementary schools.

The Mindful Schools curriculum (which is taught to educators through their Curriculum Training) produced statistically significant improvements in behavior versus the control group with just 4 hours of mindfulness instruction for the students–a very small, low-cost dose. The areas of improvement were in paying attention, calming/self-control, self-care/participation, and showing care for others.

The long range plan is to have Mission Montessori become a Mindful School, with every student and teacher learning and practicing mindfulness.

 

 

 

Our Faculty

Mr. Darrin Chappell

Hello! My name is Darrin Chappell and I am very excited to be back at Mission this year, at the Larkspur campus. This will be my second year at Mission Montessori, having spent this summer in Houston for my training in the Lower and Upper Elementary programs. I grew up in the Bay Area just

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JoDene Tryon

The founder and Executive Director, has committed her life to bringing the Montessori Method to all children, both under-privileged and affluent, which has been demonstrated by her career direction over the past four decades. She began in 19 73 as a public school teacher in the Roosevelt School District where she worked with children who lived in a

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Ms. Patti Sandler

Ms Sandler earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; a Master of Arts in Guidance and Counseling from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois; and has Montessori Certification, 6-9 & 9-12, from the College of St Catherine, Minneapolis, MN/Houston Montessori Center. She has taught for the Chicago Public Schools, Hopkins

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Deborah Summers

Deborah Summers  grew up as a military child and began school in Munich, Germany, and  continued her elementary and high school education in Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. She attended the University of Arizona earning the  bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing Science and masters degree in Special Education.  Her second masters  from

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Ms. Georgene Cunningham

Ms. Cunningham is AMI and AMS certified for ages 3-9. She holds a BA in Sociology. She also earned her AEPA (Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments) in Elementary Education. She looks forward to getting to know each of you as we create a partnership to make these years together memorable.

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Dr. Heather Devich Ed. D.

Our school is so lucky to have such a wonderful human being running our sustainability and gardening program. Her heart is truly a loving one and the students and parents of Mission Montessori absolutely love her. Her wisdom and knowledge are a welcome part of every day life at this school. Her academic achievements are tremendous

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Ms. Sarah Stipanovich

Ms. Sarah Stipanovich is certified from Montessori Teacher Education Center in Infant/Toddler education, where she received her early childhood training for 2 ½ to 6 year olds from The Center for Montessori Teacher Education in 2005. She has been working in a Montessori environment for over 18 years and this is her 10th year at Mission Montessori Academy. Her

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Mr. David Zapotocky

Music Director (Upper Elementary & Middle School) David Zapotocky (Mr. Z) is a specialist on woodwind instruments and music composition (though he can teach and play just about any instrument!). Mr. Z has a Bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree in jazz studies from California State University, Long Beach. In

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Dr. Lalit Ecka PH

Dr. Ecka serves our community as principal and site manager of our E2 Larkspur Campus. With a Doctorate in Public Health, a Master’s in Sociology and years of service in the Montessori world, Dr. Ecka moved to Arizona last year to join Mission on their quest to educate children for the 21st Century.

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Ms. Maura Kelly

My name is Maura Kelly and I would like to welcome the new and returning families to my class this is my 11th year at Mission Montessori. Prior to my years here, I taught in Montessori schools back in New Jersey. Although most of my teaching experience is in the Montessori classroom, I also worked

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Ms. Debbie Wright

Ms. Debbie Wright has been the lead teacher in our infant program for the past five years. She believes that the basis of a good education starts at the infancy stage and requires time, attention, trust and respect. She is Montessori Certified for Infant/Toddler programs and a Mother of 3.

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Ms. Alicia Kimbro

Ms. Kimbro attended Arizona State University and earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education in 2005. she is a “Highly Qualified” Arizona state teacher with an SEI (Structured English Instruction) endorsement. She recently earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work this past May.

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Ms. Brittany Baisley

Ms. Baisley has been a Montessori teacher for 8 years, both in an infant and toddler environment. This will be her 4th school year at Mission Montessori, and her second year as a lead toddler teacher. Her Montessori journey started at a very young age as a toddler student through to Eighth Grade.

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Ms. Crystal Macias

Ms. Macias is Montessori trained and certified to teach E2 (4-6 Grade). She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Biology and Anthropology. She has worked in various learning environments, including special education, and has found the Montessori Method to be the most impactful for all students.

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Mr. Brad Colburn

Mr. Colburn has a Master’s Degree in Special Education and a Bachelor’s in English Literature. After 17 years of teaching, he has decided to become Montessori trained this summer and is eagerly awaiting the upcoming school year. His knowledge and kind heart make a perfect fit for Mission.

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Ms. Danka Dobrikova

Ms. Danka has been with Mission Montessori for the past 13 years and an educator for 38. Her wisdom and love for teaching is easily seen by anyone who enters her room. She has a Master’s in Early Childhood Education and a continued enthusiasm and exuberance to teach new children every year.

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Ms. Claudia Ramirez

Ms. Ramirez is a Mexican born spanish teacher who loves the learning process. She is a great addition to our middle school and completed training in Houston, TX to become a lead in that environment. Her abilities to teach comes from her willingness to learn. Her drive

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Ms. Joslyn Maike

Welcome to Middle School… Ms. Maike graduated from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI with a Master’s in Education. Her undergrad  degree is in Fine Art from Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, MI. Ms. Maike received her secondary Montessori training at Houston Montessori Center with Dr. Elisabeth Coe and went on

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Ms. Caitlin Collins

I love our Middle School… Ms. Collins graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in history & anthropology in 2005 and spent the following summer studying archaeology in Beijing, Xi’an and Chengdu, PRC through the International Scholar Laureate Program. Ms. Collins received her secondary Montessori training at Houston Montessori Center

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Ms. Laine Rutkowski

Hello parents! I would like to share some information about myself so that you may better get to know me, as we begin this new school year together. My name is Laine Rutkowski and this will be my fifth year teaching at Mission Montessori. I started my career at Mission teaching Spanish to the Elementary 1,

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Ms. Kelly Wisley

Hello! My name is Kelly Wisley. I was born and raised in Minnesota with two sisters, my mom and dad, and our dog.  I played competitive soccer for fourteen years and played rec soccer for nine more years until I started my family.  I have lived in Arizona for almost ten years and have been

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Dr. Glena Hegstad Ed.D.

Following attending one year at Oklahoma College for Women on a music scholarship, I transferred to Oklahoma City University. Upon achieving a bachelor’s degree from that university in Elementary Education, I went on to obtain my master of arts in teaching. As part of the course work for my master’s degree, I was able to

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Ms. LeAnna Gonzalez

My name is LeAnna Gonzalez. I have been involved with Montessori education for 14 years. This school year will be my 12th year as a Montessori teacher and my 6th year at Mission Montessori. I have two daughters one attends Mission Montessori at the Del Jardin Campus and the other is at Mission Montessori on

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Ms. Veronique DeAngelo

Ms. DeAngelo is a certified Montessori Teacher for ages 3 to 6 years old. Her passion for teaching and her commitment to the Montessori Philosophy and Method are paramount in her daily activities.

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