Evidence of Positive Social-Emotional Change

In September 2020, in the midst of COVID-19 and distance learning chaos in schools, 15 school counselors in 2 school districts took The Connection Practice Core: Inner Wellness for Success.

On a scale of 1-10, the course received an average rating of 9.

Evidence in U.S. Schools

I thought this school year was going to be the worst of my teaching career because I was getting a cohort of kids with reputations for being difficult and even violent. Because of the Connection Practice, it turned out to be the best year ever. I'm so proud that, at the end of this rough year of converting to distance learning, my class was the only one in the school that had 100% attendance. We stayed connected!
- Carole Goyen, 5th Grade Teacher
at Cragmont Elementary, Berkeley
The Connection Practice at Cragmont Elementary School in Berkeley
The Connection Practice Boards were created in 2019 and included in the Curriculum. In September, Carole Goyen's 5th grade class at Cragmont Elementary in Berkeley learned the Connection Practice (CP) from Carolyn Janson, a certified CP Trainer. There were immediate positive outcomes, and at mid-year, the students were surveyed.

Student Survey Results:

Reporting on what was "easy" or "very easy" to do

  • 66% - Naming their feelings
  • 66% - Guessing feelings of others
  • 72% - Naming their needs
  • 61% - Guessing needs of others
  • 74% - Getting coherent
Mid-Year Evaluation (before lockdown due to COVID)

COVID interrupted the learning process, the evaluation plan and the filming of the project for a documentary. We expect the percentages in the survey would have been higher if the plan had been fully implemented.

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Dr. Davi Pakter, father of one of the students, explains how his family dynamic was transformed by the Connection Practice. 
Rita Marie presented a Connection Practice workshop at the California Student Mental Wellness Conference.

St. Rita School in Fort Worth, Texas implemented the Connection Practice Curriculum.

Dr. Laurie Porter evaluated the results:

Overall, based on my interview with the principal and the teachers’ written responses, the Connection Practice methodology was an effective tool for counseling students, creating a harmonious classroom atmosphere and helping  students to feel calm and focused before tests, as well as giving the students themselves tools to help understand and take charge of their emotions.

A Connection Practice Trainer and guidance counselor teaching the first Connection Practice (formerly BePeace) pilot at Oakley Elementary in Texas.

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Current Community Impact

Juvenile Diversion Program

Deputy District Attorney sharing conflicts

A restorative justice project of the South County Youth Task Force will teach youth offenders with Spanish magnetic Boards and our new Digital Boards App. This program aims to lower citations and dissuade a path into the juvenile justice system.

The Connection Practice is integrated into the program so troubled youth learn a healthy way to resolve issues and are prepared to make amends with those they've hurt.
Mentors learning to use CP Boards

St. Mary School - Gilroy

The Connection Practice has been implemented into 4th, 5th and 6th grade classrooms in St. Mary School in Gilroy. With the combination of tactile magnetic Boards and the Connection Practice Digital Boards, students will be able to resolve conflicts anywhere and anytime, within the classroom and at home. We aim to show that this method is efficient and effective in reducing stress and building self-confidence in students.

Students using the digital Connection Practice Boards in the classroom
Children using the digital boards in class

Impact of Heart-Brain Coherence

Heart-brain coherence, which plays a major role in the effectiveness of the Connection Practice, has been thoroughly researched by the HeartMath Institute®. Several HeartMath studies have been recognized by the National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs (NREPP) for having met their criteria as evidence-based research. 

For example, a study by the U.S. Department of Education, funded with $1,000,000, showed coherence had a statistically-significant impact on reducing test anxiety and improving test performance. Some of the results were:

  • Seventy-five percent of the students experienced lower levels of anxiety during tests.
  • The test scores improved on average by 10 to 25 points.
  • Students experienced less fear and frustration, and made fewer rash decisions. 
  • Students participated more in class activities and demonstrated emotional connection, humor, persistence and empathic listening.

This graph shows the results of a study involving students who had failed the Minnesota Basic Standards Tests and needed to retake them.

All the students went to a 3-week course to learn academic skills, but the HeartMath group also received training in coherence.

Within the HeartMath group, 64% of them passed the math test compared to the district average of 42%. In reading, 55% of them passed compared to the district average of 31%. 

This graph shows the results of a study of a sample of 11,903 people before and after six weeks of HeartMath training.

Individuals learned coherence and reported feeling less exhaustion, depression, anxiety, annoyance and anger, almost half the amount they did before the training.

Evidence of Positive Impact on Families

Masumi Takahashi, a Japanese business owner and CEO, suffering from health problems, was distraught to find that suddenly his son, Makoto, could not walk. Masumi was desperate to provide for his family believing that hard work "now" would give his family happiness "later." However, he sensed that his own personal challenges and his son's new disability stemmed from something deeper. 

Masumi began to earnestly seek a solution to these problems and discovered the Connection Practice. By using empathy and coherence, which led to an insight, he understood Makoto's feelings and needs. This began Makoto's and Masumi's healing. 

Read more of this touching story.

Evidence from Costa Rican Schools

The Connection Practice was introduced in the Costa Rican public school system in 2004 beginning with one school. Each year, the program was independently evaluated by graduate students from the United Nations University for Peace.

The results on the right show the positive impact in Costa Rica, where the Connection Practice has been taught to almost 1,500 teachers, impacting more than 40,000 students per year.

Costa Rican Ministry of Education Evaluations of the
Connection Practice Course by 195 Teachers

Costa Rican teachers embraced the Connection Practice, called SerPaz in Costa Rica, as evidenced by this graph from the Ministry of Education. 

The teachers were stressed when they arrived at the course, but the ratings of over 97% in every category demonstrate their enthusiasm for what they learned. 

Girls practicing heart-brain coherence
Costa Rican teachers doing the Connection Practice in 2007

The Connection Practice envisions a world where generational pain is transformed into generational peace.

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