Late October early November, Sally visited with yet another fantastic group of Costa Rica Adventure Travelers! We had the pleasure of a visit from Dr. Lori Desaute, a professor from Butler University who shared some of her neurobiology research of stress, engagement, learning and connection with the girls. Lori made the information engaging and relevant with hands-on active movement based learning to demonstrate how stress and adversity affect the brain.
Ms. MaryBeth Desautles came prepared with a host of wonderful physical activities that taught the girls about endorphins and got them moving and laughing. We had the fortune of hearing women speak about their careers as teaches and ministers. We were also taught a fun rhyme and dance to our favorite song, Roar by Ms. Omunique Owens. After so many heart felt lessons the girls wanted to share in return and we hope we entertained everyone by later singing, Roar, by Katie Perry and performing a dance to “I cant stop this feeling,” by Justin Timberlake. What was so fantastic about this exchange was that it was mostly non-material. The girls were not showered with candy or plastic toys but with knowledge and love. The girls were given gratitude journals to which they immediately delved into the activity of writing a compliment in each of their classmates journals before passing them around the room so each girl could have her new journal filled with 16 heartfelt reasons why others like her. Dr. Lori also incorporated essential oils into her lessons about how stress affects the brain and gave the girls lavender spray to help them remain calm under pressure.
This was overall our most active group as far as both teaching and learning while co-creating relationship with the students. Ironically amidst all of this old-fashioned learning and action, we also received our very first taste of technology at Girls for Success with Internet access and tablets!!! While there are Internet struggles to have all students on the tablets at the same time, we are slowly learning the joys and sorrows of technology together. The girls have just started using Duolingo a fantastic and free application I would highly recommend for learning a wide variety of languages. As we all move into the season of family and gratitude we want to send a message of appreciation and love from here in the jungle. What’s on tap for 2018? We are happy to say with a little help we will once again be able to pull of a trip to San Jose so the girls can learn about their country’s capital and visit academic and economic institudions. I am dedicated to taking our healthy food unit to a new level and will be writing soon about how you can help me get the girls to eat only healthy snacks for 30 days. Until then, be well!