With Amanda Moreno, Ph.D., Adenia Linker, M.Ed., SAYD, CYT, and Kandace Thomas
In this breakout session, we will attempt to take an innovative approach to the sometimes thorny question of just how much mindfulness training teachers need before they can begin leading practices, with integrity, with their students. We will:
- describe the professional development and ongoing support approach we have taken in communities that are almost exclusively high-poverty, people of color, and low/no familiarity with mindfulness practices;
- facilitate table discussions around how attendees have approached the difficult issue of providing and monitoring sufficient training and practice experiences for teachers; and
- derive next steps for achieving a healthy balance to maintaining both non-dilution/quality/integrity of mindfulness practices in schools AND broad and inviting accessibility to groups of people that stand to benefit but have previously been largely excluded from the mindfulness community (schools, teachers, and students of all backgrounds considered among this group).
Adenia Linker, M.Ed., SAYD, CYT is a social and emotional health advocate with a degree in Positive Youth Development from University of Illinois-Chicago. She has worked with schools, children and families for over 15 years focusing on wellness and stress management. Originally coming to the work as a yoga teacher serving teachers and after-school programs, Adenia has extensive experience presenting wellness programs and strategies for families and students. Additionally, Adenia has edited a non-violent communications curriculum for elementary schools and presented throughout Chicagoland on social and emotional topics. She is also a member of the National SEED Project, facilitating peer-led conversations addressing diversity, oppression, and privilege. Adenia currently oversees Erikson Institute’s Calm Classroom K-2 research initiative. She also serves as adjunct faculty at UIC, teaching the introductory seminar for the Educational Psychology department’s Positive Youth Development program.
Kandace Thomas is a Doctoral Candidate at Erikson Institute and Loyola University Chicago joint PhD program in Child Development. Her dissertation is exploring the role of mindfulness and self-care in reducing intergenerational trauma transmission in families. As part of her studies, Kandace co-facilitates mindfulness curriculum in kindergarten thru second grade public school classrooms and engages families of the students in which she is teaching mindfulness. While pursuing her PhD, Kandace is also a senior program officer at the Irving Harris Foundation where she works to build developmentally-appropriate, trauma-informed equitable systems of care for young children and their families. Kandace was central to the creation of the Diversity-Informed Infant Mental Health Tenets, ten guiding principles outlining equity standards in the infant mental health field. She also conducts local and national trainings on the Tenets. Kandace is cofounder of Camp Sojourner Girls’ Leadership Camp, and her other experiences include policy and program development work on behalf of under-resourced families and communities. Kandace studied child and family policy at The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and earned her undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.