The Blue School appears to be a neuroscience driven playgroup for children to learn about their own neuroanatomy and emotional self-regulation and are given language to describe their feelings...

"So young children at the Blue School learn about what has been called “the amygdala hijack” — what happens to their brains when they flip out. Teachers try to get children into a “toward state,” in which they are open to new ideas. Periods of reflection are built into the day for students and teachers alike, because reflection helps executive function — the ability to process information in an orderly way, focus on tasks and exhibit self-control. Last year, the curriculum guide was amended to include the term “meta-cognition”: the ability to think about thinking.

“Having language for these mental experiences gives children more chances to regulate their emotions,” said David Rock, who is a member of the Blue School’s board and a founder of NeuroLeadership Institute, a global research group dedicated to understanding the brain science of leadership.

That language is then filtered through a 6-year-old’s brain.

Miles, one of the kindergartners drawing their emotions, showed off his picture and described the battle it depicted between happiness and anger this way: “The happy fights angry, but angry gets blocked by the force field and can’t get out.” Happiness could escape through his mouth, Miles explained. But anger got trapped, turning into sadness.

With ample research showing that negative emotions impede learning while positive emotions broaden children’s attention and their ability to acquire and retain information, strategies for regulating emotions are getting more emphasis in progressive schools across the country."


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Oh man, this is a glimpse of a better world.

a global research group dedicated to understanding the brain science of leadership

Am I the only one who's not quite sure of what is meant by "leadership" in a context like this? Is it just a fancy way of saying "management"?

"Leadership" is a fuzzy word, but in contexts like this I get the sense that it's used to mean something like agency) -- specifically, the habit of making choices, and of making them based on expected outcomes rather than perceived social expectations. That's a prerequisite to effective management, but actual management skills are something different, and quite rarely taught to children as best I can tell.

There's also a fairly clear relationship to debiasing. I admit I'm skeptical of the practical implications of the OP's link, though; the concept sounds promising enough, but the buzzword density is fairly high and I don't see any evidence of good implementation that I wouldn't expect any reasonably science-savvy educators to generate. That might be the NYT's fault rather than the school's, though.

reasonably science-savvy educators About what percent of US schools would you estimate as being run by such?

Close to zero if we're averaging over all schools, somewhat higher but still not great if we're looking at a narrower reference class, but that's not a very informative statistic either way. If I was considering whether to enroll a hypothetical child in an expensive private school, I'd primarily be interested in whether I could expect better educational outcomes, not whether the educational philosophy's closer to ideal in some abstract sense. There's a lot of ways for a school to have good intentions and fail in implementation, and still more for a school to signal good intentions and fall short of them in practice.

The NYT article's leading me to suspect the latter. Still, I suppose I should give some credit for effort.

Would you call military commanders or revolutionary organizers managers?

In my experience? Yes.

strategies for regulating emotions are getting more emphasis in progressive schools across the country

So. Freaking. Ominous.

So. Freaking. Ominous.