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The Brain and The Optimistic Classroom: Mindful Learning, Resilient Students

The Brain and The Optimistic Classroom: Mindful Learning, Resilient Students

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Aspen Institute

Presented By

Presented by The New York Academy of Sciences and The Aspen Brain Forum Foundation


Join us for a public lecture by Goldie Hawn, founder of The Hawn Foundation. She will speak on the MindUP™ curriculum, the Foundation's signature educational initiative now published by Scholastic.

A social and emotional learning program designed for pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade children, MindUP™ is informed by current research in cognitive neuroscience, positive psychology, social and emotional learning, mindfulness, and evidence-based teaching.

Open to the public. Registration is required.

Registration Pricing

Student / Postdoc / Fellow:$25

This is the opening keynote lecture of the conference, Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning: Implications for Education.

Presented by

  • New York Academy of Sciences


* Presentation times are subject to change

Day 1: Thursday, September 22

5:00 PM


5:30 PM

Welcome Remarks

5:45 PM

Keynote Address

The Brain and The Optimistic Classroom: Mindful Learning, Resilient Students

Goldie Hawn, The Hawn Foundation (creators of MindUp Curriculum)

6:30 PM

Networking Reception


Goldie HawnGoldie Hawn is an Academy Award winning actress, producer, director, best-selling author and children's advocate. She is the founder of The Hawn Foundation, a public charity with a mission to equip children with the social and emotional skills they need to lead smarter, healthier, and happier lives.

Alarmed by increases in school violence, youth depression and suicide, and the persistent failure of the education system to help children cope with increasingly stressful lives, Goldie began The Hawn Foundation in 2003 to apply cutting edge scientific research to create education programs that support the social and emotional development of children. Working with leading neuroscientists, educators and researchers, the Foundation developed MindUP™, an evidence-based curriculum and teaching model for grades K-8 that provides children with the tools to help them understand and improve their own emotions, moods and behaviors; reduce stress and anxiety; sharpen concentration; build confidence; increase empathy; and improve academic performance in school. MindUP™ is currently being taught in schools in the United States and Canada. Ms. Hawn has been honored for her work with children. Among them, in 2009, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) presented Goldie with a special award for her work to increase public understanding of mental health. She has written a book on raising healthy, joyful, and resilient children, entitled 10 Mindful Minutes, which will be released this Fall.


The Brain and The Optimistic Classroom: Mindful Learning, Resilient Students

Goldie Hawn, The Hawn Foundation, Santa Monica, CA

Schools are under great pressure to provide students with a body of knowledge and skills in safe and secure environments so these children can navigate the heady seas of childhood and emerge as well-adjusted, successful, and happy adults. In recent years, neuroscience has become an important and essential ingredient of teaching excellence. Great teachers have always sensed what methods worked; yet, advances in brain‐imaging technology and cognitive neuroscience and psychology research have now made it possible to correlate experiential knowledge with empirical scientific research and emergent educational theory. That the nurturing environment of an “optimistic classroom” yields more focused, joyful attitudes toward learning among children points to a direct correlation between events at the cellular level of the brain and human behavior and thought processes. When teachers effectively use strategies to reduce emotional distress and build a positive learning environment based on how the brain processes sensory input and data, students gain emotional resilience and learn more efficiently and at higher levels of cognition. The better children understand their thoughts and feelings and the more they know about their brains, the easier it is for them to be aware and in control of their behavior and dispositions. To establish the optimal educational environment, children’s brains need to be open and ready for learning if they are to acquire new information and process it effectively. In fact, children may learn the tools of self-awareness and emotional regulation that promotes optimal learning. By cultivating greater self-awareness, children can understand better how to respond to their world reflectively instead of reflexively. As researchers and practitioners are demonstrating, teachers as well as students benefit from being able to connect the neuroscience of learning to the arts of teaching and learning.

Meeting Location:

Aspen Meadows Resort - Home of The Aspen Institute
845 Meadows Road
Aspen, CO 81611

For directions to the meeting location, please click here.

Other Suggested Hotel Accommodations in Aspen

Hotel Aspen
110 W. Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611
Phone: 800.527.7369

Molly Gibson Lodge
101 W. Main Street
Aspen, Colorado 81611
Phone: 888.649.5982

The Annabelle Inn
232 W. Main Street
Aspen, CO 81611
Phone: 970.925.3822

The Limelight Lodge
355 S. Monarch Street
Aspen, CO 81611
Phone: 800.433.0832

Special Needs and Additional Information

For any additional information and for special needs, including child/family care resources available to conference attendees, please e-mail Crystal Ocampo.