• Suzanne Nason

P.E. Teachers Join Pure Edge Team to Present Mindful Movement, Neuroscience of Stress and Simple Strategies at SHAPE America Convention

The Society of Health and Physical Educators, better known as SHAPE America, aims to provide programs and resources to achieve health and physical literacy for all children. Pure Edge & SHAPE America have partnered for a three-year engagement at both national and regional conferences. Most recently, the Pure Edge team with the help of two health and wellness champions from our partner districts, presented two sessions at SHAPE America’s National Convention in Tampa, Florida. Teachers Lisa Hayden and Edwina Soto joined Gill McClean and Anne Contreras to lead participants in mindful movement, the neuroscience of stress and simple strategies for educators and students.

Pure Edge has worked with over 25,000 educators across the U.S., and we have met incredible teachers. Edwina Soto has been a champion since 2016 and has added great insight and authenticity to the sessions. Lisa Hayden joined for the first time in April 2019. “Lisa was so well-prepared and[…]she made me feel like I should be in her classroom on a daily basis,” Edwina shared. Both educators shared their real-world experiences as teachers in physical education settings and hoped to empower others to bring Pure Edge’s mindfulness tools back to their schools.

“Edwina got to share her actual experiences as a teacher and speak with teachers who weren’t sure about how to motivate their students.” Lisa believes that providing a foundation rooted in the neuroscience of stress and the ways mindfulness impacts the mind and body are key to engaging educators. Anne Contreras explained, “Having our guest P.E. teachers present with us has helped our audiences know that SEL implementation has already been taking place and that these specific instructors have also had personal transformation because of being involved in the process.”

At Pure Edge, we provide knowledge and resources, but the real impact comes from educators putting their new skills to use in their classrooms. “Train the mind and the body will follow,” said Lisa. “[P.E. teachers] are always thought of as body-first, and I think we have to shift that. Everything ties together.” Edwina expanded on the importance of making knowledge and resources accessible and easy to implement. “Pure Edge provides a road map for teachers to follow,” she stated. “That means even the least confident educator will be capable of providing standards-aligned lessons for learners.”

This work can impact educators just as much as students. Edwina summed up her experience with Pure Edge with a quotation by L.R. Knost: “When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.” She has been open about how her participation in our educator self-care training helped her to understand her emotions in a new way, and how this has transformed her into an even better teacher. “After some self-reflection and self-care, I was able to approach my students with a different perspective on class management and help them identify and deal with their emotions.”