Whole Systems Learning
Young people and parents find support for all styles of learning at the BrainLab. Learning Conversations, Expressive Arts and Biofeedback give children and their families a wide range of tools for learning-how-to-learn. We offer one-on-one coaching and mentoring for children and teens, and group experiences—monthly workshops and ongoing classes. For parents, we offer coaching, classes, salons and family retreats. Check our website for the current schedule or give us a call.
A Well-Being Model of Learning
BrainLab's learning practitioners offer a non-pharmaceutical, whole systems approach to learning and learning issues. We promote a well-being model of learning as an alternative to the prevalent diagnosis and disorder model. We believe: happiness, play and freedom of choice are central to learning. Loving, egalitarian relationships between young people and adults nurture the expansion of creative intelligence. Music, dance, storytelling and the visual arts are humanity's "core curriculum." The mind soars in a joyful body.
"Beyond the sky we fly, perchance to see some greatness there: eternal wonder! that which is born of courage here."
Wayne Shorter, composer, jazz musician extraordinaire
We are concerned that the prevalent medical model of "learning disorders" has led to widespread prescription of stimulant, anti-anxiety, and antidepressant medication. This model frames the source of learning problems within the child—and diagnoses "attention problems," "processing problems," etc.
In contrast, the team at BrainLab chooses a whole systems lens to view learning issues and create solutions. We view the child in relationship—to parents, teachers, curriculum, school system, community. We look for long term solutions that place learning issues in a larger context and empower people from within.
Comprehensive services for families:
- Learning Conversations
- Expressive Arts – classes and one-on-one mentoring
- Workshops, classes, salons for parents and educators
- Educational assessment
- Child and family advocacy with schools
- Attention, depression and anxiety medication education
- Support for planning transition off pharmaceuticals
- Nutritional supplementation
- Clinical psychology
- Referrals to holistic practitioners
Most academic tutoring focuses on helping students master particular subjects. Learning Conversations focus attention not only on mastering particular topics, behaviors and skills, but on the process of learning itself and learning-how-to-learn.
Learning Conversations coach Claudia L'Amoreaux creates a supportive dynamic that encourages reflection, higher-order thinking, intrinsic motivation and a deeper sense of confidence and well-being. Young people learn how to talk themselves skillfully through their own learning events. They make the successful transition from other-directed to self-directed learners.
Learning Conversations for young people focus on:
"One of the most valuable skills Claudia offers is the ability to help a learner reflect on his/her own learning process... Learning-how-to-learn is the life skill I consider most valuable in a fast-changing world..."
Jan Hailey, parent
Learning conversations for parents include coaching in:
- Organization and time design
- Reading fluency and comprehension support
- Research and writing strategies
- Communication—positive self-talk and social interaction
- Goal setting and non-judgmental self-assessment
- Emotional Intelligence
- Self-advocacy skills
- Independent study plans
- Apprenticeship, travel learning and early college options
- Rites of passage for teens
- Compassionate communication and the biology of love
- Parenting with skillfulness and joy
- Modeling learning-how-to-learn
- Designing a family learning plan
Expressive Arts give young people a way to bring their hearts, bodies and minds to learning. Many schools today emphasize highly compartmentalized academic learning and test scores. We believe that music, dance, theater, creative writing and the visual arts support young people in developing a broader range of self-expression necessary for creative intelligence.
Through active participation and performance in the Expressive Arts—humanity's "core curriculum"—children and teens can experience ever-widening opportunities for joyful, embodied learning.
BrainLab mentors offer group explorations and one-on-one coaching in:
- Movement & dance
- Physical theater
- Creative writing
- Visual & media communications
Biofeedback helps young people explore and understand the body/mind connection. Biofeedback sensors help them measure the body's many signals—brainwaves, blood flow, muscle tension, temperature, sweating, breath, and heartbeat. Software "feeds back" these measurements in formats that include music, animations, and fractal imagery. Participants discover that they can influence feeling and thinking states—they can create relaxation over anxiety, focus over distraction.
Biofeedback sessions explore:
- Understanding your brainwaves – from alpha to gamma
- Brain, heart & breath biofeedback
- Biofeedback & learning: math, reading, writing, speaking, class participation, & test-taking
- Biofeedback-facilitated peak performance
- Biofeedback-assisted mindfulness & meditation practice
- Biofeedback without technology
We observe that when young people practice biofeedback, they experience improved functioning across multiple domains: feeling, attending, concentrating, planning, verbalizing, reasoning, and creating. Self-esteem and self-confidence increase and motivation returns.
"Biofeedback has enabled me to focus better,
not just in school, but on my life, overall. It has been a catalyst for feeling better—more fulfilled as a person. The fact is, Biofeedback is fun!"
Alison, age 18
Biofeedback enhances learning-how-to-learn. Benefits received from biofeedback can be noticed immediately, and biofeedback-enhanced performance improvements last—as long as several years based on brain biofeedback outcome studies. In contrast, pharmaceutically-facilitated performance improvements drop off when medication is stopped, and side effects are cause for concern. Most important, young people are empowered by their interactions with biofeedback.