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Council

Council is an integrated practice, not an add-on program, and as such it is an invaluable tool for any educator or group facilitator.  Useful in elementary, middle, high school, and post-secondary settings, Council offers strategies for teachers to engage students in the process of bringing meaning to subject matter through relational activities involving dialogue, art, music, movement, improvisation, and intrapersonal modalities.  It offers counselors and administrators' forms and strategies to facilitate staff, student, parent, intergenerational, and community groups.  Find out more about Council in Schools at http://cis.ojaifoundation.org.  

The core mission for Council in Schools is to provide a practice that addresses relationship (connection) and relevance (meaning) in education.  These two "R's" have been increasingly neglected in public education, and in the culture at large, for some time.  

Council provides students and all participants a sense of "coming home."  Council does not teach values explicitly, but exposes students to a process through which values are formed.  By learning how to listen "from the heart" to the stories and expressions of others, students and adult participants develop true empathy.  They learn to "re-spect" or re-see each other.  There are many programs that offer various forms of "social-emotional" education, but few that address this fundamental need in a way that comes from within each individual.  

In this time of national and global turmoil and transition, the call for practices that strengthen relationships and mutual understanding is great.  Increasingly, educators at all levels (not to mention potential employers) are sounding the alarm that young people are losing their ability to connect and communicate with others - particularly other who are form different cultural backgrounds.  They are graduating from high schools and universities technically savvy and "emotionally illiterate."  This problems exists in all cultural and socio-economic groups, and is what the practice of council is designed to address.

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