Friday Keynote Presentation:

Why Mindfulness Matters for Parents and Teachers


You have likely heard something about the value of mindfulness – in the workplace, at home, and at school. But how do practices stemming from ancient Buddhist teachings actually impact the development of your child’s brain? How can these practices profoundly improve the relationships between parents, teachers, and children? Drawing on pioneering findings in neuroscience and psychology research, as well as powerful experiential exercises, Dr. Shapiro will show how mindfulness practices lead to positive changes in our brains and our lives, and how they can deepen the connection and compassion in our families, schools and community.

Shauna Shapiro, PhD is a professor, author, and internationally recognized expert in mindfulness. With twenty years of meditation experience studying in Thailand, Nepal and the West, Dr. Shapiro brings an embodied sense of mindfulness to her scientific work. She has published over 150 journal articles and chapters, and coauthored the critically acclaimed texts, The Art and Science of Mindfulness, and Mindful Discipline: A loving approach to setting limits and raising an emotionally intelligent child.

Saturday Keynote Presentation:

The Case for Make Believe:
Saving Play in a Commercialized World


Play is crucial for creativity, healthy development, and learning.  It’s how children naturally wrestle with life to make it meaningful.  Yet as a society we seem to do everything we can to prevent kids from playing. One major culprit is the commercialization of childhood.  Loveable media characters; cutting edge technology; brightly colored packaging; and well-funded, psychologically-savvy marketing strategies combine in coordinated campaigns to capture the hearts, minds, and imaginations of children—teaching them to value that which can be bought over their own make-believe creations.  Dr. Linn will explore the erosion of creative play and what parents, and professionals who work with young children, can do to ensure that all children have opportunities for make believe.

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Susan Linn, Ed.D. is Research Associate at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Lecturer on Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She was Founding Director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood from 2000 to 2015. A psychologist, she has written extensively about the effects of media and commercial marketing on children. Her book, Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood, has been praised in publications as diverse as The Wall Street Journal, and Mother Jones and helped launch the movement to reclaim childhood from corporate marketers. The Boston Globe called her book The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World, “a wonderful look at how play can heal children.”  Her work has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Sixty Minutes, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and the acclaimed documentary The Corporation.