A Journey into the Heart of Learning

How do we foster social and emotional well-being

for children and adults in learning communities?

I am in the process of discovering how this journey will unfold. Please contact me if you would like to talk about or collaborate on any of the ideas mentioned here. I also greatly appreciate being introduced to or told about individuals, organizations or resources that could further this mission moving into action in the world. Thank you!


Guiding Vision: I am guided by a vision where compassionate, inclusive, empowering and highly effective learning communities nurture a vibrant quality of aliveness and belonging for all adults and children. Motivated by a shared purpose specific to their unique populations, these communities create a culture of enlivened and experiential learning, attending to the physical, emotional, social, intellectual and moral needs of the children and adults in the community. The spirit of learning permeates beyond individual communities as wisdom is shared within communities of practice and with the culture at large, creating powerful systems of influence.


Personal Mission: I support social and emotional well-being for children and adults and the systems that shape their lives, placing particular emphasis on learning communities. I engage with individuals and communities, supporting them as they reach an optimal operating capacity where my services are no longer needed. I focus on four key areas:


Research, Document and Integrate: In order to optimize and integrate the best practices already in use, I research, identify, connect and build upon the wisdom, knowledge and practices that are currently working. Through interviews, Learning Circles and Community Engagements, I engage with educators, learning communities and program developers to learn about creative and effective efforts being used to strengthen social and emotional competencies within and among students, teachers, administrators, parents and the school culture. The processes used for researching provide opportunities for learning from, empowering, supporting, connecting with and collaboration between these vibrant, effective and compassionate individuals and groups. Knowledge and practices are documented and made available to a wider audience, especially those doing related work, for the purpose of growth, development and change.


Develop Programs with Attention Towards Whole Systems: Collaborating with program developers, researchers, educators and school communities, I act as a bridge person and creative catalyst, bringing together the knowledge, practices, and experiential wisdom of these different fields of practice. With the goal of quality program development that attends to the whole system of influence, I facilitate processes for collaborative learning and development, translating leading edge research into classroom or school-based practices while eliciting and integrating educators successful efforts and burning questions. Diverse teams collaborate to research effectiveness, fine-tune projects, and disseminate results. Comprehensive follow-through plans and feedback loops are consistent elements in all programs developed.


Assess and Implement: I work with educators and learning communities ready to address their own goals for continued growth in social and emotional well-being amongst their community. In partnership we assess the community’s needs and collaboratively create a plan for successfully implementing practices and programs that promote opportunities for every child and adult to learn to their full capacity and potential, strengthening social and emotional well-being. We create opportunities for the community and individuals within it to successfully cultivate their personal strengths by utilizing both their own resources and talents as well as systematic supports from leading edge science, methodology and pedagogy.


Support Communities of Practice and Innovation Labs: I foster critical connections by hosting and bringing attention to innovation labs and communities of practice that are dedicated to social and emotional well-being. These efforts assist this field of emphasis in becoming more visible to itself, enabling people and groups engaged in similar work to connect and share the knowledge with a wider audience. In communities of practice, individuals share what they know, support one another and intentionally create new knowledge for the field of practice. By creating and identifying communities of practice, educators and learning communities dedicated to social and emotional well-being can become more connected to one another and develop networks for support, collaboration and resource sharing. Innovation labs are gatherings where diverse people promoting social and emotional well-being in different facets of the field come together to connect, share, and collaborate. Participants might include educators, students, policy makers, program developers, philanthropists, researchers, and parents. The wisdom that emerges from these communities of practice and innovation labs will also be shared on a larger scale with the culture at large.


 

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Thomas Arthur 
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