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As a mindfulness educator, I integrate teaching ecological education with lessons from social-emotional learning. Teaching children ecological intelligence is an exciting new model of teaching them academic achievement and fostering in them strength, hope and resiliency.

As an educator, when I integrate SEL with ecological literacy, I cultivate the ability in young people to nurture healthy relationships with others and the Earth. Important SEL lessons that students learn are developing empathy for all form of life. As students learn to expand their understanding of compassion for other living beings, they appreciate a fundamental ecological principle, the complex diversity of life. By practicing empathy, our children are more likely to act in ways that preserve diversity and expand outward in their focus: from self to others, to all living systems.

Social intelligence is another lesson that people who are eco literate demonstrate. Helping young people develop an intricate connection to everything around us and understanding our intercedence and interbeing teaches them essential lessons on coexistence and helps them learn social intelligence. When we conceive of this intelligence in a dynamic relationship with each other, we cultivate one, and it helps us cultivate the others.

Learning the impact of our actions on others and everything around us is an essential lesson that young people learn. My intent here is to encourage a sense of caring that is not restricted to other human beings but extends to all form of life.

Ecolilteracy teaches young people an understanding of the ways that nature sustains itself. By honoring nature as teacher, they learn vital lessons, such as independence, self-help, and growth mindset along with the significance of species diversity, networks of relationships and resource conservation.

The model of education I present here takes the cultivation of emotional and social intelligence as its foundation and expand this foundation to integrate ecological intelligence.


Danile Goleman – Author of Ecoliterate.

Meena Shrinivasan – Executive Director of Transformative Educational Leadership (USA). Author of Teach, Breathe, learn: Mindfulness in and Out of the Classroom and SEL Every Day: Integrating Social and Emotional Learning with Instruction for Secondary Classrooms.

Dr. Richard J. Davidson – Founder & Director Of The Center For Healthy Minds At The University Of Wisconsin – Madison

Center For Ecoliteracy


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