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This book is a vital resource for all educators who are dedicated to promoting student mental health and well-being. Built on a solid foundation of research and experience working with schools, Christine Mason and her colleagues offer readers key principles and actionable strategies, stories that illustrate and inspire, exercises to reflect upon and apply lessons to one’s own school, and references to numerous additional online sources.
This outstanding contribution to the literature on our students' mental health and well-being provides an exemplary blend of cutting-edge research, step-by-step practical interventions, and a true humanistic vision for the future of our schools and society. Before COVID-19 this book would have been important; today it is indispensable. Wherever you are teaching or working in the education sector, Compassionate School Practices is essential reading for all of us, both during the pandemic and in the years to come.
As schools begin to shift away from the industrial model of education, we see many implementing student-centered and inquiry-based practices that are designed to help students develop their curiosity and become more proficient thinkers and problem solvers. While these practices are laudable, the unaddressed mental health needs of many students will stand in the way of desired progress for all.
I started my career as a teacher in the New York City neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant where many students came to class hungry, sick, abused, homeless, or all of the above. It was then when I first realized the health and welfare of our students surpasses the importance of their academic achievement. That was 1968. Fast forward to today. Suicides rates are the highest they’ve ever been.
Quality education cannot exist in the absence of compassion. And even if it could, it would be difficult - if not impossible - for such “education” to be applied in a way that would move humanity forward. This book provides a comprehensive and evidence-based blueprint for how to create a heart centered and compassionate school environment that allows all children - especially our most vulnerable - to heal, learn, and thrive.
When it comes to children's mental health, school is among the biggest stressors that kids have to deal with. Compassionate Schools Practices is the bridge that we need to redesign the school system in a way to meet the needs of youth. If we are able to implement at least some of the recommendations, all of us stand to substantially benefit!
Compassionate School Practices captures our imagination, with principles and action steps to strengthen student mental health and well-being. The authors offer a practical approach that goes beyond screening and identification as it promotes collective kindness and caring. Their blueprint for schools shows how to embed compassion into everyday interactions between teachers and students to bolster student self-esteem, while strengthening self-care practices.
An important new look at how we can foster mental health in schools. Educators have the capacity to buffer against adversities their students face, and schools can lessen the impact of trauma and toxic stress. At the same time, teachers themselves face unique stressors. Mason, Asby, Wenzel, Volk, and Staeheli present numerous practical suggestions for promoting mental health and well-being among students and teachers alike.
In the midst of this horrific pandemic, there’s more than learning on the minds of educators. Many youth depend on teachers and their schools to connect with peers and caring adults. Mason and her co-authors provide valuable insights as they tell the story of the New England Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative - stories from principals, social workers, teachers and school psychologists, about how they are building student self-esteem and resiliency, and how they are teaching while addressing the critical needs of students who are most at-risk.
The social and emotional health of students is interdependent with that of teachers and school leaders. But one-size-fits-all or piecemeal programs won't improve true resilience. Compassionate School Practices provides the tools you need to be intentional about identifying your learning community's current needs and your capacity to influence, no matter your position.
This publication is a timely contribution to promote child and youth’s social emotional development. It provides a useful ecological framework and specific practices that educators and specialists may incorporate into their daily work.
Compassionate School Practices exemplifies Mason’s expertise in the field of Mindful Education, and creates real-world learning for “whole educators” who truly wish to address social emotional issues with their students. Mindfulness, restorative justice, equity, trauma informed care—it’s all wrapped into a single cohesive message here with practical applications for the modern teacher. This is a book every educator must own.
Teaching the facts of mental illness in schools is comparable to teaching students rote math facts without understanding the systems that numbers function in and how this is applied to solve problems. Having basic knowledge of a subject does not lend itself to deeper thinking to promote both individual and systemic growth. Without analyzing our data, identifying areas of need, and altering how we navigate mental illness we will inevitably continue to repeat the same pattern of misunderstanding and inadequate treatment.
Our schools, our children, our society face a profound moment of reckoning with global pandemic, climate crisis, political polarization, systemic and structural racial and social injustice, and more. These times call for a mindshift of being, thinking, and acting, and that begins with centering compassion, mindfulness, empathy, and kindness within our schools. This book is rich in solid research and practices that supports teaching and learning through mindfulness, trust building, cultivating belonging and awareness, and more.
The authors conceive of a heart-centered, compassionate learning community bound together by trusting, safe, authentic relationships that include the child, family, educators and the broader community. Central to their vision is a single caring adult who supports each student, and is embedded in both the school and surrounding community. This approach builds a trauma informed school culture that enhances children’s health and well-being. Their strategy is supported by tools and tips that makes the implementation of this creative vision possible.
Who better to guide our children’s mental health than our educators? Compassionate School Practices gives a comprehensive blueprint to managing our mental health inadequacies in a 2020 pandemic/post pandemic world. Beyond medical diagnosis and pharmaceutical treatment, the book focuses on our most at-risk and underserved children. I have firsthand experience with a child who has thrived through services provided at school.
Finally! As crisis after crisis threatens the future of our children, we have a book that outlines specific and deeply researched ways to approach children’s mental health and wellbeing from a truly holistic, heart centered, community-based perspective. Never has the need for inspiration and resources to change the future of education been greater than now.
Compassionate Schools Practices provides useful tools for confronting the complex nexus of mental health, education and trauma. Importantly, the authors realize that educators cannot pour from an empty glass and must maintain their own well-being in order to effectively support their students in the long term.