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Over the past two decades, significant advancement has been made in understanding the role the brain plays in human behavior. Along with this new and exciting information emerges a responsibility for therapeutic professionals to have a solid understanding of the “brain basics” needed to support the lives of troubled children and youth. The Hopeful Brain authors provide a common-sense look at modern neuroscience and its application to positive youth development, psychology and educational support. Baker and White-McMahon take on the often daunting world of complex neuroscience and provide readers with practical strategies that are easy to use and apply across a variety of settings.

This book explores the importance of using strength-based interventions and creating structured opportunities to “reimburse” troubled children and youth with positive experiences that teach and transform.

According to Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) http://www.casel.org/social-and-emotional-learning/ social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that can enhance personal development, establish satisfying interpersonal relationships, and lead to effective and ethical work and productivity. These include the competencies to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show caring and concern for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Research indicates that there is a direct link between social and emotional skills and academic learning. According to CASEL many risky behaviors can be prevented or reduced when social and emotional learning is integrated into the curriculum. This is best done through explicit instruction and through student-centered learning approaches that help students engage in the learning process and develop analytical, communication, and collaborative skills.

The Minded Brain is a "hands-on" educational curriculum designed to enhance the social, emotional and cultural needs of students through target experiential learning activities. It uses targeted instructional techniques to support social emotional learning within an easy-to-use NeuroRelational framework.

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