Laura Parker Roerden has twenty years of experience consulting on projects that promote the development of social, emotional, and ethical development in young people towards creating socially-responsible adults, i.e. those who participate in democracy, positively contribute to their communities, and are stewards for the natural world.

Her current work focuses on infusing social and emotional learning into environmental education.

“Social and emotional learning is now a field with 20 years of data to prove that pro-social action in young people is less about information and more about connection to others and the larger whole.” Roerden explains. “Yet our environmental education often lacks attention to the inner-life of young people, in favor of the outer.”

Research shows that nurturing healthy relationships with peers, adults in their life and with the natural world can provide young people with the deep connection and sense of belonging necessary for later responsible action in the world.

“It’s quite simple,” Roerden explains. “Young people need to first feel safe and a sense of deep connection and belonging to the communities that we wish them to take responsible action within.”

“We can promote that sense of a healthy community in our classrooms, communities and families by nurturing pro-social skills such as responsible decision making, win-win conflict resolution, effective expression and regulation of feelings, cooperation and teamwork, and grit through challenge.”

Her current work focuses on infusing social and emotional learning into environmental education. “Social and emotional learning is now a field with 20 years of data to prove that pro-social action in young people is less about information and more about connection to others and the larger whole.” Roerden explains. “Yet our environmental education often lacks attention to the inner-life of young people, in favor of the outer.”

Through her demonstration project Ocean Matters and other consulting in the marine education space, Roerden is working to change that.

“The benefits to social and emotional learning is that it’s not an either/or proposition, where dollars in education compete. You can shore up academic performance, lessen at risk-behaviors, develop character, and encourage healthy participation in democracy by simply attending to some core principles while you deliver academic content.”

Laura has consulted to many different educational outreach projects that develop social responsibility in young people, as well as has written marketing collateral for related projects.

List of projects and clients:

Bullying Prevention

  • Author of the elementary, middle school, training manuals, after-school and camp programs for Operation Respect founded by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary, “Don’t Laugh at Me.”
  • Author of the Direct from the Field: Bullying Prevention Guide from the Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes, a guide sent to every school in Massachusetts.

Violence Prevention

  • Ben & Jerry’s Peace Pop campaign on conflict resolution.
  • National Basketball Associations program to train coaches in conflict resolution.
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting, SafeNights USA simulcast event of violence prevention activities for youth across major America cities.
  • Frontline: educational outreach component for documentary on clergy sex abuse in Alaska.

Social and Emotional Learning

  • Morningside Center for Social Responsibility: developed 13 units of after school activities teaching life-skills for inner-city youth.
  • Pokemon USA: consulted to the development of Pokemon Learning League, an interactive online game using Pokemon characters and narratives to teach social skills.
  • Wrote articles, speeches and books for Linda Lantieri, a leading authority on social and emotional learning.
  • Developed e-learning vision for incorporating social and emotional learning for numerous clients.

Youth Development and Resiliency

  • contracted as managing editor of New Designs for Youth Development magazine published by the National School-Age Care Alliance (now the After School Association.)
  • created four volume set of resources including interactive media for improving quality in national after-school age care settings
  • ghost wrote Linda Lantieri’s (with Dan Goleman) Building Emotional Intelligence: Practices to Cultivate Inner Resiliency in Children (Sounds True, 2014) and wrote training guide for the Inner Resiliency Project.
  • ghost wrote for Lisa Wheeler. Engaging Resilience. (CreateSpace, 2017.)
  • educational outreach producer for the film: Adrift, exploring boy’s healthy development.

Character Education

  • Athletes for Character Education (ACE): Wrote Olympians of the Heart guide to engage former Olympians in working with high school students on character development.
  • Primary author of Ocean Matters curriculum, a marine science through service organization.

Film and Mixed Media Production and Educational Outreach

  • Project manager for “Changing Channels,”​ a media literacy kit for parents including a Grammy-nominated children’s song CD
  • Producer of “Impact Quality:” an interactive CD to improve quality for after-school programming.
  • Event content producer for Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s SafeNights, violence prevention event simulcast across major U.S cities.
  • educational outreach producer for Frontline’s The Silence.
  • educational outreach producer for the film: Adrift, exploring boy’s healthy development.
  • author, Net Lessons (O’Reilly & Associates, 1997), a seminal book and CD exploring the curricular implications of using the internet in classrooms; recommended by PBS.
  • Advisory Board member to Pokemon Learning League of Pokemon USA, an interactive set of online delivered teaching tools using Pokemon characters. Consulted to the development of social skills and conflict resolution lessons.
  • Producer of prototype to teach Don’t Laugh at Me online.
  • Producer of a product line for the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe of Martha’s Vineyard for sharing their cultural heritage including
    • a children’s book about Cranberry Day
    • a cultural heritage map and tour of significant sites on Martha’s Vineyard
    • an elementary school curriculum for infusing the Wampanoag story into the Pilgrim narrative.
  • consultant to many funding proposals looking at interactive ways to teach social and emotional learning in mixed media.

Keynotes and Speaking Engagements (sample list)

  • World Environmental Education Congress
  • Blue Mind 3 (with Celine Cousteau)
  • Mote Aquarium’s Tea for the Sea
  • TechLearn (with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary)
  • Southwick’s Zoo

Laura is the author of numerous articles and books about the social, emotional, and ethical development of young people. She has a masters of education from Harvard University and a BA in English and Communications from Boston College.

 

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