Heart-Centered Connections™ Immersion Program & Retreat

For educators, child-serving professionals, and caregivers

Two college-age peers, a male with glasses and long hair and a female with a hair scarf, smiling and pointing at a laptop outdoors

Imagine you and your peers tapping into your full potential 
so you each can feel grounded, open your hearts, and have the vision to see the genius in every child and colleague you encounter.

Your nervous system is the gateway to educational reform through the cultivation of safe learning communities.
Community is medicine.

Learn to cultivate inclusive learning environments.

Enrich students’ felt-safety, agency, and resilience through the application of educational neurobiology, culturally responsive teaching, and mind-body awareness practices.

In the HCC Program, you will experience the transformative power of equity-based social-emotional learning. The program’s content draws on a foundation of polyvagal theory, interpersonal neurobiology, educational neuroscience, and trauma-informed mindfulness practices.

Research shows that deep learning requires connection before content. From a nervous system perspective, you will learn to address the unconscious biases that often hinder our ability to connect with youth. As you learn to address your own unconscious biases, you will be able to cultivate environments that support children’s social-emotional well-being, thus improving their opportunities for deep learning. The HCC program is unique in that it teaches you how to create optimal conditions for learning by connecting with youth on a brain, nervous system, and cultural level.

A young Asian elementary school female teacher in glasses smiling with a young black female student
I now understand that my nervous system responses are not bad. It is important to tell yourself when something is a trigger, not a true threat. Since completing this training, I have tools to help myself examine my triggers as a child-serving professional.
HCC Program Participant,
Riverside County Office of Education

The HCC program is a 25-hour certificate training* with an 8-week commitment from child-serving professionals.

The program begins with a two-day immersion retreat introducing core foundational knowledge and mind-body practices. The immersion retreat is a day of in-person connection that sets the stage for the remainder of the training.

Topics include:

  • Setting group agreements to establish a culture of safety and trust
  • Learning the foundations of interpersonal neurobiology
  • Building a model brain and nervous system
  • Exploring polyvagal theory and the science of felt-safety
  • Understanding the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on long-term life outcomes
  • Practicing trauma-informed mindfulness, breathwork and other mind-body practices to increase personal well-being and professional capacity

The immersion retreat is followed by seven live virtual learning sessions.

*CEU Credits available through the University of San Diego for child-serving professionals.

This training supported me in learning the scientific background to concepts I’ve been intuitively engaged in. It is a game-changer to have scientific knowledge alongside tactile strategies that support my personal regulation. I can now step in as a more effective co-regulator for others.
HCC Program Participant

Our Heart-Centered Connections™ Curriculum delivers transformational experiences in 7 Pillars:

Pillar #1: Establishing Capacity for Healthy Co-Regulation
In this pillar, you will:

  • learn the foundational elements of the autonomic nervous system
  • dive into the science of your nervous system’s survival responses
  • explore the healing power of your vagus nerve
  • discover ways to enhance your nervous system’s resilience through breathwork practices
  • uncover the ways in which your nervous system uniquely responds to cues of perceived threat and consider which practices support you in resetting your nervous system for social engagement

Pillar #2: Taking a Mindful Approach to Behavior Support
In this pillar, you will:

  • learn how to access the ventral vagal state, a nervous system state that is key for social engagement
  • gain knowledge of how different nervous system states produce different behavior responses and consider how and when these behaviors appear in those you serve
  • learn strategies to support those you serve in returning to a settled nervous system state

Pillar #3: Embodying Equity and Social Justice
In this pillar, you will:

  • understand the impact of trauma and racial stress on learning and development
  • acquire skills in identifying how nonverbal interactions act as embodied microaggressions
  • learn how to uncover where bias lives in the body
  • attain a mindset shift in how you view issues of equity and social justice from a nervous system perspective

Pillar #4: Connecting with Mindful Communication Skills
In this pillar, you will:

  • learn strategies for creating felt-safety in interactions with others
  • explore the power of storytelling and narrative empathy to enhance social connections with the youth you serve

Pillar #5: Elevating Agency and Choice
In this pillar, you will:

  • familiarize yourself with the components of culturally responsive teaching
  • learn effective ways to empower youth through a cultural lens
  • create learning environments that embrace diverse identities

Pillar #6: Teaching with the Brain in Mind
In this pillar, you will:

  • explore how trauma or learning differences impact how the brain learns
  • understand the power of mnemonic instruction, and learn the different types
  • discover why mnemonics are successful in enhancing memory and deep learning for students with learning disabilities

Pillar #7: Designing Energetically Nourishing Environments
In this pillar, you will:

  • learn how culturally relevant elements of environmental design, sensory stimulation, group rituals, and connections create physical and psychological safety
  • explore how to become more mindful of systemic trauma caused by environmental injustice within communities of color
  • discuss how connections to familiar places, colors, sounds, nature, etc., impact learning and healing
As a classroom teacher for more than 20 years, I never connected my nervous system state to my students’ behavior. I used to consistently send students out of my classroom for poor behavior, without recognizing my own lack of regulation. Now that I support my nervous system and come to class each day in a ventral vagal state, I very rarely send children out of the classroom. My students’ behaviors have improved drastically simply by me changing how I show up for them. I also understand how to prepare their nervous systems for learning.
HCC Program Participant,
Berryessa Union School District

Organizations & Schools that have trusted HCC & MLP

Berryessa Union School District Logo
Pasadena City College Logo
peace4kids Logo
Riverside County Office of Education Logo
San Bernardino City Unified School District Logo
St Anne's Logo
Touro University Logo
Upland Unified School District Logo
Cultivate Heart-Centered Connections
Child-serving professionals who have completed the HCC training and learned to cultivate heart-centered connections report less burnout, a greater ability to connect with others in the face of stressors, and increased effectiveness in their roles in education, social work, and healthcare.
This training exceeded my expectations. The whole experience was wonderful from beginning to end. I learned the scientific link between my mind, body, and behavior. It felt like a gift from my school district.
HCC Program Participant,
San Bernardino City Unified School District
I loved the training. I felt this was the first training that fully invested in me and my well-being versus training where the sole focus is to bring learned information to my students.
HCC Program Participant,
Pasadena Unified School District
The combination of hands-on learning, videos, and lectures cater to all of the learning styles.
HCC Program Participant,
Riverside County Office of Education
The breathing along with the movements have transformed my life. I now include many of these techniques in my daily life to combat burnout.
HCC Program Participant, Peace4Kids

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