The Preschool Neuroscience Summit 2020

Speakers Info

Dr. Helen Maffini •

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Helen is the Director of MindBE Education and the creator of the MindBE Curriculum and the Thriving Kids Program, She is the host of the 2018 Preschool Mindfulness Summit and Co-Author of Developing Children´s Emotional Intelligence and Sammy´s Next Move.

Books: Developing Children’s Emotional Intelligence (Bloomsbury Education)

Sammy’s Next Move: Sammy the snail is a travelling snail who lives in different countries

John Medina •

DR. JOHN J. MEDINA, a developmental molecular biologist, has a lifelong fascination with how the mind reacts to and organizes information. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School” — a provocative book that takes on the way our schools and work environments are designed. Medina’s book on brain development is a must-read for parents and early-childhood educators: “Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five.” His latest book in the series is “Brain Rules for Aging Well: 10 Principles for Staying Vital, Happy, and Sharp.” Medina is also the author of Attack of the Teenage Brain: Understanding and Supporting the Weird and Wonderful Adolescent Learner.

Medina is an affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and two boys.

Free Resources: Brain Rules references

Session Title:  How Baby Brain Works

Book: Brain Rules

Erin Clabough

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Erin Clabough is a mother of four who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Her parenting style has been highly influenced by her background in brain development research and she translates those concepts into easy parenting ideas that can make an immediate impact. As a biology and psychology professor, she investigates questions about how the brain functions in her research lab, including synaptic plasticity, developmental work on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and lifespan topics such as neurodegenerative disease. She is also interested in providing concrete ways to increase empathy
in our homes and classrooms while incorporating brain awareness.

Erin received her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Virginia in 2006, specializing in the molecular genetics of neurodegeneration. She subsequently held a three-year postdoctoral research position at the University of Virginia. She is currently an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. Her scientific research has resulted in many peer-reviewed journal articles.

She writes for Psychology Today, mindbodygreen, TODAY Parenting, and other publications.

Session Title: How to Teach Self-Regulation Through Empathy, Creativity, and Self-Control

Book: Second Nature: How Parents Can Use Neuroscience to Help Kids Develop Empathy, Creativity, and Self-Control

Dr. Stuart Shanker • The MEHRIT Centre:


Self-reg Global:            


Stuart Shanker, D Phil (Oxon), is a Research Professor of philosophy and psychology and the CEO of the MEHRIT Centre, Ltd. ( and Scientific Director of Self-Reg Global Inc. One of his many books Reframed: Self-Reg for a Just Society (2020) and Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage With Life (2016), have garnered enthusiastic reviews and media attention throughout North America.

Over the past decade, Dr. Shanker has served as an advisor on early child development to government organizations across Canada and the United States, and in countries around the world. During this period, he became increasingly interested in the impact of excessive stress on child development and behaviour. Dr. Shanker’s five-step Self-Reg model, The Shanker Method®, is a powerful process for understanding and managing stress in children, youth, and adults.

Companies: Self-Reg Global and The MEHRIT Centre (TMC)

Free Resources: Self-Reg Website, Self-Reg Blogs, Understanding Stress Behaviour for Parents Infographic

Session Title:  Self Regulation in the Preschool Years

Book: ReFramed

Sarah McKay •

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I’m an Oxford University-educated neuroscientist, educator, presenter, media commentator, director of The Neuroscience Academy, and author of The Women’s Brain Book: The neuroscience of health, hormones, and happiness.

I teach coaches, therapists, teachers, and other helping professionals all they need to know about the brain so they can confidently apply insights and tools from neuroscience to their work.

Session Title:  Neuroscience and Preschoolers

Book: The Women’s Brain Book: The neuroscience of health, hormones, and happiness.




Andrea Samadi •

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Andrea Samadi, a former middle school teacher from Toronto, Canada began working with success principles with students in the late 1990s. She asked a neighbor what he did for a living and was handed a book that would change her life. As a teacher, she found the profession very difficult, especially with stress and classroom management.

She has dedicated the past 18 years researching and participating in ongoing mentoring featuring some of the top neuroscience researchers in the world to help provide stress-reducing strategies for parents, teachers, and counselors to increase learning and reduce stress in the classroom.


Free Resources: Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast

Self-Regulation and Your Brain

Session Title: Self-Regulation and Your Brain: How to Bounce Back Towards Resilience

Book: Level Up: A Brain-Based Strategy to Skyrocket Student Success and Achievement

Mary Gordon

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Mary Gordon is an award-winning social entrepreneur, educator, author, and parenting expert who has created an international children’s charity, Roots of Empathy, and Seeds of Empathy. Ms. Gordon’s work has been recognized by the UN, the WHO, and the Dalai Lama. She has been honored with the Governor-General of Canada Award for innovation and presented with the Order of Canada. Her empathy-based program, Roots of Empathy, has research confirming its impact from three continents.

What we will learn in this presentation or interview
This session will discuss why empathy is needed now more than ever in society and the pivotal role that Early Childhood Educators play in its cultivation. Narrative, video, and research will be shared as registrants are exposed to the school-based program Roots of Empathy and the Seeds of Empathy program for childcare centers.

Company: Roots of Empathy

Free Resources: Roots of Empathy COVID-19 Resource, Research Symposium Proceedings and videos

Session Title: Cultivating Empathy in Children

Book: Roots of Empathy: Changing the World Child by Child

Matthew Newell


Matthew Newell is a co-founder and director of the Family Hope Center. Since 1981, Matthew has dedicated his life to helping children and adults with special needs and brain injuries. Matthew has worked with parents and specialists from 34 countries, creating neurodevelopment programs and helping and educating more than 15,000 families. The Family Hope Center maintains an ever-evolving interdisciplinary, neurodevelopmentally-based approach, incorporating new scientific advances, treatment modalities, and techniques into its successful treatment model.

What we will learn in this presentation or interview
Parents will learn how they can be proactive in supporting their children and how a bottom-up inside out nonmedication approach to neurology and human development can significantly support neurodevelopment in well children and children struggling with ADD/ ADHD, Autism, Downs, Cerebral Palsy and many other neurological conditions

Company: The Family Hope Center

Free Resources: All the items on the website (resources – video library ) are free content in terms of videos, questions, and answers, and a free 3-hour introduction – Understanding your child’s brain. This particular course is free until mid-August -all the rest of the many videos on the brain are free

Session Title:  Understanding your Child’s Brain

Book: Healing Your Child’s Brain (coming out initially in sept and then officially in Jan 2021)

Dr. Arthur L. Costa and Dr. Bena Kallick


Bena Kallick is an author, speaker, and educational consultant who has co-authored many books on Habits of Mind with Arthur Costa. She most recently co-authored Students at the Center: Personalized Learning with Habits of Mind with Allison Zmuda. Costa and Kallick are the co-founders of the Institute for Habits of Mind.

Art is a past president of ASCD, author, and editor of numerous books and articles on coaching, teaching for thinking and the Habits of Mind including Cognitive Coaching (with Robert Garmston) The School as Home for the Mind, Developing Minds;  A Resource Book for Teaching Thinking, and most recently, (with Bena Kallick), Nurturing Habits of Mind in Early Childhood Classrooms.

Free Resources:

Session Title:  Habits of Mind in Early Childhood Development

Book: Nurturing Habits of Mind in Early Childhood 

Michael I. Posner •

Michael Posner is a professor emeritus at the University of Oregon. He continues his research into neuronetworks related to attention. His work has examined the development of attention networks involved in orienting to sensory stimuli and controlling voluntary responses. His work has examined how these networks develop from infancy to adulthood and how they respond to efforts to improve them through various forms of training.

What we will learn in this presentation or interview
How attention depends on various brain networks.
How to measure the efficiency of these networks.
How parents train these networks and methods to improve training.

Free Resources:

Session Title:  Development of Attention Networks

Book: Images of Mind




Ruth Whiteside •

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Fuelled by a passionate interest in, and practice of, emotional intelligence, I coach groups and individual educators to unlock their own EQ. I was a primary school teacher in the UK for twenty years, including many of those years as a senior leader. I am also a trainer in the UK focusing on the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences, trauma and resilience.

What we will learn in this presentation or interview 
We know from neuroscience that children – and adults – establish patterns of behaviour through experience and observation. This knowledge empowers us to model implicitly and explicitly the positive behaviours that are conducive to well-being and learning. I will explore how educators can use the Emotion Cards with young children to develop emotional literacy.

Free Resources: Free training opportunity to learn about the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences

Session Title: Developing Positive Patterns of Behaviour Using Emotion Cards

Laura A. Jana, MD •

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Dr. Laura Jana is a pediatrician, early educator, health communicator, and nationally acclaimed parenting and children’s book author with a faculty appointment at Penn State University’s Prevention Research Center. Having first gained national recognition working with a world-renowned pediatrician, Dr. Benjamin Spock, she has 20+ years of experience working with parents, early educators, news media, academia, government organizations, non-profits, and corporations alike. From her longstanding role as an early literacy advocate and 10-years as the owner of a 200-student educational child care center to her recent role as Director of Innovation at UNMC’s College of Public Health and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Jana is dedicated to ensuring that all children grow up with the support and skills they need to succeed in today’s world. Having authored over 30 parenting and children’s books, her most recent books, The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today That Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow and Jumping Into Kindergarten, introduce the fundamentally important concept of QI Skills and convey the powerful role caring responsive adults play in their development during children’s foundational first 5 years

What we will learn in this presentation or interview
We will review the current science of early brain and development and discuss how it and preschool/caring responsive adults stand to play a foundational role in the development of critically important skills – called QI Skills – needed for future life success

Company: Jana Ventures Inc

Free Resources: Skills Every Child Will Need to Succeed in the 21st Century (TEDxChandigarh)

Five Connections that Will Change Children’s Lives (TEDxOmaha)

Session Title: The Toddler Brain: Applying the Science of Early  Brain & Child Development to Enhance 21st Century Skills for Success

Book: The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today That Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow, and Jumping Into Kindergarten

Elmarie Potgieter •


Elmarié is the founder of the RITE Education Group and is a 100 Meaningful Business 2019 awardee. She has led various international projects in Education Transformation, Curriculum Development, as well as Leadership, and Pedagogical Coaching for over two decades. She is a regular international keynote speaker on thinking skills development, mindfulness and emotional intelligence, and the ideator of the “Inspired: Are you future-ready?” global conference.

What we will learn in this presentation or interview

The famous study by Professor George Land found that 5-year olds have the creative potential that far exceeds those of adults, yet, the education system does not embed approaches to developing creative thinking skills. Instead, it seems to destroy it. In this talk, Elmarie Potgieter, the creator of ThinkWise: Little People Big Ideas, will share how the programme guides educators and parents to strengthen thinking between the ages of 4 and 7 and how neuroscience principles support the core approaches of the programme.

Company: RITE International Incorporated

Free Resources: Explore Chameleons with Lucky Luke ThinkWise: Little People Big Ideas

Session Title:  Let’s Nurture the Innate Creativity and Curiosity of Young Children as a Powerful Resource for Future Innovation

Book: ThinkWise: Little People Big Ideas

Dr. Sara Lazar •

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Company: Lazar Lab

Session Title:  What Happens in the Brain When We Meditate?

Prof. Craig Hassed •

Dr. Craig Hassed is an internationally recognized expert in mindfulness, who has published and presented widely. He is a co-author of Exisle’s very successful ‘Mindfulness for Life’ and “Mindful Learning.” 

Free Resources: Mindful Wellbeing for Peak Performance.  and Maintaining a Mindful Life

Session Title:  Mindful Learning: Reduce Stress and Improve Brain Performance for Effective Learning

Book: Mindfulness for Life, Mindful Learning

Carla Tantillo Philibert •

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Since Carla Tantillo Philibert founded Mindful Practices in 2006, her team has worked with over 300 schools and 100,000 students across Chicago, the United States, and internationally to provide educator professional development, in-school, and remote learning Pre-K to 12th-grade student classes, after school programming, and parent and community support in wellness, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), yoga, mindfulness, and the arts. Mindful Practices’ staff takes pride in providing engaging and relevant programming designed to bring all members of the school into a learning community built on relationships, support, and connection. In addition to leading the MP team, Carla is the author of Cooling Down Your Classroom (2012), and the Everyday SEL series (Routledge, 2016 & 2017). Carla has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, is a certified yoga teacher, and is a founding teacher and curriculum director of a high school in Chicago. She has taught at both the elementary and secondary levels, is the co-creator of Hip-Hop Yoga, and is a highly qualified professional development provider. Carla has presented in Ireland, Canada, Greece, Spain, India, and Mexico.

Free Resources: Mindful Minutes Quick, simple, and mindful practices for students of all ages to be more present. #Quick #Fun #SEL #Mindfulness #Breathing All of these videos are from Class.

Session Title: SEL and Early Childhood For Students and Families

Book: Everyday SEL in Early Childhood – Integrating Social-Emotional Learning and Mindfulness Into Your Classroom

Kerry Perandis •


I have been fortunate to work for 35 yrs in a vast range of Early Years’ settings in different countries and have developed specific interests in innovative pedagogy, creative and linguistic development & the arts in early childhood education, learning environments, open-endedness, emergent curriculum, social constructivism in learning and teaching and children as curriculum developers & leaders.

What we will learn in this presentation or interview 
The shift away from didactic teaching practices is widespread, yet still observable in classroom settings today. So how do we authentically involve children into their own learning and ensure that we highlight the value of children as curriculum designers and set a new precedent for their learning and involvement in the mainstream classroom? Shifting the status quo creates a rich, potential-filled environment where interest is generated, sustained, and reimagined and the processes meaningful. Any classroom can elevate the experiences of being so that children and adults become empowered by their thinking and input. Successfully implementing democratic practices in any mainstream classroom is achievable.

Free Resources: Animated phonics readers

Session Title: Developing a Democratic Mainstream Classroom

Jennifer Fraser •


Session Title:  Tapping into Empathy Through Mindfulness

Dr. Jennifer Fraser is an educator and author. With a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, she is trained to take different discourses like education, neuroscience and mindfulness and put them into dialogue. She has a forthcoming book, The Bullied Brain: What Neuroscientists Know about Brain Scars and How to Heal Them.

Free Resources: Early Childhood Developing Brain Introduction

Coupon Code: mycouponcode100


What you will learn:

Learning how to harness empathy through mindfulness practice is not only excellent for babies and toddlers, it’s also extremely healthy for the practitioner’s brain. In this interview, we will discuss the neuroscience of empathy and mindfulness as a tool to access it.


Jana York 

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Ms. York has been a children’s mindfulness educator and practitioner for more than a decade. Her main passion is teaching children how to reduce anxiety and self- regulate while being in the present moment. Ms. York currently resides in Thailand, where she teaches mindfulness in the International school for students of diverse cultures.

Free Resources: Mandala Paws

Session Title:  Teaching Mindfulness – Findings, Faux pas, and Fun – U Is for Understanding 

Book: U Is for Understanding 

Dee DiGioia

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Company: Mindful Kindful YOUniversity

Free Resources: The first module in the “Mindful Explorers” online membership program will be available to explore for free the week of Sept 7 thru 11

Link to Resource: (To receive email announcements) or

Session Title:  The Magic of Mindfulness through Nature

Joree Rose

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Joree Rose, MA, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist, mindfulness and meditation teacher,
coach, author, speaker, and she also leads mindfulness retreats around the world. Joree has helped
thousands of people to live happier and more fulfilling lives through living with greater awareness and
compassion, allowing them to decrease their stress, anxiety, and shed unhealthy habits, patterns, and
mindsets. Joree is the host of the podcast ‘Journey Forward with Joree Rose’ and has authored 2
mindfulness books, Squirmy Learns to be Mindful and Mindfulness, It’s Elementary, and also has an
upcoming book to be released at the end of 2020 on gratitude. Joree has been featured in numerous
media outlets, including,, Business Insider, KTLA News, and more!

What we will learn in this presentation or interview
Back to school can be an exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, time for families. And now, we
are living in a new normal due to COVID, which can create some extra added stress for both parents and kids, as kids are either doing remote or hybrid learning, or are back at school, but potentially with some social distancing restrictions. Parents easily can get overwhelmed with all that they manage, and this new school year is bringing with it some extra added challenges. We know that emotions are contagious, and when parents are overwhelmed, kids can become overwhelmed, which is not conducive for focus, attention, and learning. In this conversation Joree Rose will guide parents in how they can create a calm household, despite added stressors, so everyone can have a productive school year.

Company: Journey Forward

Free Resources: Patient Parenting mini-course Coupon Code: patientparenting2020, A free training video that parents can check out before joining the membership

I just launched a monthly membership for parents – Journey Forward to a Peaceful and Productive School Year – in which each month I will be providing parents with trainings, resources, tools, meditations, journal prompts, 2 live Q&A calls, and a supportive community. The link to gain more information and join:

Session Title:  How to Create a Patient and Productive school year

Book: Mindfulness, It’s Elementary and Squirmy Learns to be Mindful


John Assaraf,,

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Company: NeuroGym

Session Title:  Innercise: The Proven Science to Unleash Your Brain’s Hidden Power

Book: Innercise

Helinä Mellanen •

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Company: Emotional Intelligence Skills For Life

Free Resources: The Emotional Intelligence Habit Tracker for 50% off, please use the link provided below, choose your currency and enter your free coupon code.
Link to Resource:

Session Title:  Emotional Intelligence for Parents

Lorraine E


Hi! I’m an international trainer, speaker, and author of 2 best-selling books about child and teen mindfulness training. I founded the Connected Kids Programme 18 years ago to train adults in how to teach their kids and teens meditation. We specialize in young people with Autism/SEN/ADHD and as a foster mum to a 13 year old boy we also include teaching meditation to kids with trauma.

What we will learn in this presentation or interview
How to identify stress and support kids living with the trauma of COVID-19

Company: Connected Kids Ltd

Free Resources: Free MP3 Downloads – meditation for kids or for autism/SEN

Session Title: COVID-19 Trauma and Helping Kids Connect to their Inner Reset Button

Book: Connected Kids

Mary Helen


Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, EdD is a Professor of Education, Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Southern California and Director of the USC Center for Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning, and Education (CANDLE). She studies the psychological and neurobiological development of emotion and self-awareness, and connections to social, cognitive, and moral development in educational settings. She uses cross-cultural, interdisciplinary studies of narratives and feelings to uncover experience-dependent neural mechanisms contributing to identity, intrinsic motivation, deep learning, and generative, creative, and abstract thought. Her work has a special focus on adolescents from low-SES communities, and she involves youths from these communities as junior scientists in her work.
Mary Helen is a parent to two teenagers and was formerly a public-school science teacher.

What we will learn in this presentation or interview
Throughout life, and to an extraordinary degree in young people, the brain develops differently based on opportunities to engage actively and safely with rich and meaningful environments, social relationships, and ideas. The brain’s plasticity, the very adaptability that allows us to adjust to the demands of our environments, therefore presents a critical opportunity and responsibility for education. In this talk, Professor Immordino-Yang will discuss the unique opportunities, needs, and challenges of pre-school age children including for relationships, cognitive opportunities, and cultural learning.

Company: The USC Center for Affective Neuroscience, Development, Learning and Education (CANDLE)

Session Title: Emotions, Learning, and the Brain: why strong relationships and high-quality cognitive opportunities are so critical in pre-school

Book: Emotions, Learning, and the Brain: Exploring the Educational Implications of Affective Neuroscience


Mark Greenberg, Ph.D. is the Emeritus Bennett Chair of Prevention Science at Penn State University. He is the author of over 350 articles and chapters on the development of well-being, learning, and the effects of prevention efforts on children and families. He is a Founding Board Member of CASEL and a co-developer of The PATHS Curriculum. He is the Chairperson of the Board of CREATE, a non-profit devoted to improving the quality of schooling and the lives of teachers and students (

What we will learn in this presentation or interview 
How can we (educators and parents) best support preschooler’s emotional development? In this presentation, Dr. Greenberg will discuss how emotion regulation develops in the brain, why emotion regulation in the preschool years is so important, and what are practical ways we can support children to identify, express, and manage their emotions for success.

Company: CREATE


Session Title: Supporting Children’s Emotional Development

Freebie: Emotion Regulation: The Key to Human Development

Book: The FAST Track Program for Children at Risk

Dr. Robert Melillo •

One of the most respected specialists in childhood neurological disorders in the world, Dr. Robert Melillo is a clinician who has spent his career helping children and adults overcome learning disabilities for over 30 years. His areas of expertise include autism spectrum disorders, PDD/NOS, ADD/ADHD, OCD, Dyslexia, Asperger’s, Tourette’s, bipolar disorder, and other mental, attention, behavioral and learning disorders. He has taught over 10,000 health and education professionals worldwide and he continues to lecture extensively throughout the world.

Dr. Melillo currently sees patients of all ages in his NYC practice.

Press Kit

Company: Dr. Robert Melillo

Freebie: Kids Anger E-book, Kids Elimination Diet

Session Title: Disconnected Kids

Book: Disconnected Kids

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