How did the story of this business begin?
Clarissa: It started from a significant need to change what we were seeing in our classroom and support our students in their learning journey as well as their emotional journey. Throughout our years of teaching especially in the last few years we would notice things that would show up in our classrooms, like not being able to problem solve, lacking in resilience in regards to their own learning journey, social interactions etc and as teachers we are always looking for better ways of doing things and helping to support our students and cultivate success. Initially I decided to write a children’s book to support students and teachers and parents with having conversations around using more mindful language and how to build those skills. But after that I wanted to find a more explicit way to help them. I soon met Veronica and we noticed we were noticing the same situations in our classrooms. We did a research paper together, to see if we could explicitly teach growth mindset and how it would affect our kids. We wanted to know if we could make a significant difference with this and the research was astounding. It made a massive difference with how kids approached everything in our classrooms. After a while we noticed there was no ‘how-to guide’ for teachers on this, so we decided we would create one. Now we are super passionate about impacting as many parents and teachers and kids as we can. 

It feels like life is becoming more challenging for kids these days, with increasing rates of anxiety and depression, how does your ‘talk to your brain’ program support families to build resilience, persistence and improve self-love for your students?
The program ‘talk to your brain’ has sections on all those topics and more, and that’s because they are so vital. We believe that through teaching these we can improve the wellbeing of our children. It provides parents and teachers with key phrases, lessons, questions and activities that they can do which teach them the skills that they need to function in society. The growing rates of anxiety, depression and bullying are really concerning, and the ages of these experiences is getting younger and younger. The whole premise behind this is to equip students with skills well before they need intervention. 

If you could focus on only a few key things with kids, what would they be?
Emotional intelligence is vital, we always have to face things that come at us whether they are challenging or not. If we’re not provided with strategies on how to do this, unfortunately a lot of people turn to negative coping mechanisms, such as overeating, alcoholism, drugs etc. If we can teach emotional intelligence to kids, they will be better equipped for the challenges they will face as adults. Being able to identify emotions in other people is also massively important in emotional intelligence, we’ll always come across things that involve people, whether its family, relationships, work life or study, being able to identify motions in other people is going to strengthen these relationships and make for more positive interactions. The other would be self-love, these kids need to understand that they are valuable, and they need self-worth, before anyone can love them, they ‘need to love themselves, when something bad happens. If they don’t then they blame themselves and are harder on themselves and will affect their confidence later in life.
What results are you seeing thus far?
I think this year I’ve seen a lot of changes in the language and the effort. I have a class that would really like to do well. Their effort in the classroom at the start of the year, to now is huge. Im halfway through parent teacher interviews, and 8/10 have commented on a change coming home with the kids. One of my little girls is leaving at the end of the year for her senior years, and she said at the start of the year she hated the idea, she was not positive at all and did not want to go. Now she’s really looking forward to it, and she’s shifting her focus to look at the positives and her outlook has changed completely. As far as I’m concerned that is a major success. 

Talk to us about the power of the word ‘Yet’
Language is so powerful, and we teach our kids this. Whether it goes to themselves or other people around them, the words they use and the language they throw around leaves a mark and they have the power to build us up or break us down. ‘yet’ really is powerful, we have kids as young as prep saying ‘I can’t do it’ the more they say it the more they are going to believe it, and unfortunately í cant’ is a word and a phrase that is thrown around so flippantly, and I as an adult am trying to break it too. Its like a baby learning to walk, if they kept falling down and couldn’t get up then just gave up and said they couldn’t do it, the world would be a pretty funny place. The kids love that example, but it really rings true, and they see the power in it. So, whenever they see something that is challenging initially, they follow up with the word ‘yet’ which empowers them to know that they will be able to get there eventually. 

Are there any tips for parents as to how they can use devices as a tool for good and not for bad?
For those kids around 10 years old, they are right about on the cusp of a vital age. I think that if kids are not equipped with the tools to cope or problems solve effectively in the real world then they are not equipped to problem solve or manage in an online world. Before they even get to social media, they need to know who they are as a person and have that self-worth and self-love, its difficult in this day and age as it is everywhere for kids. I think they need the skills first to deal with cyber bullying and everything else that comes with it. I think its easy to disregard the level of danger regarding social media, but my opinion is parents need to be more vigilant of what they are doing online. Kids are very savvy with it, and its our responsibility to help them develop the skills before they get online.  


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