I've worked in education for close to 20 years now. Back in the early 2000’s, working as a music therapist, I spent countless hours creating songs and activity ideas for preschool and elementary teachers. At the time No Child Left Behind was driving much of the content and as a result most of these activities focused on basic language and academic skills. Almost two decades later somethings have changed while others have not. Designing educational activities now, as a psychologist, I’m privy to the latest research that’s driving the Social Emotional Learning Movement. These days supporting school readiness and early elementary success hinges less on letter and number concepts and more on attention control, basic social skills and other key aspects of social and emotional intelligence.
Research in this area commonly refers to early SEL competencies as “gateway skills”, highlighting the critical importance of learning these skills first, as failure to do so can block further learning in all areas. For example, young students who exhibit a higher degree of voluntary control of attention are more likely to exhibit stronger language development, academic learning, social functioning, emotional control, and impulse/behavioral control. Similarly, even small improvements in the early development of executive skills, a key component of mindfulness, can promote substantial physical, psychological, and social gains realized later in life.
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I graduated in 2003 from Colorado State University with a master degree in music therapy. After almost a decade in practice as a music therapist I returned to school and earned my doctoral degree in clinical psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA.
I currently work as a licensed psychologist (LIC #27984) with an emphasis in child development. I work with children, families, educators, and related service providers offering a wide range of services that include assessment, therapy, educational consultation and advocacy, as well as teacher training and resource material development.
English Language Arts, Specialty, Arts & Music, Music, Special Education, Health, Classroom Management, Professional Development, School Counseling, Tools for Common Core, School Psychology, Classroom Community