The 2018 Self-Regulation Institute presentations include:

Day 1: Wednesday May 9th, 2018

 (8:45am) Kathy Janelle- Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn

Kathy has been practicing mindfulness for five years and has recently started bringing mindfulness techniques to her elementary classrooms, with incredible results. Students have been learning how to be present and self-aware in their, seemingly simple, lives through focusing on their breathing. They have also been learning how to be aware of the present moment, whether they are working, walking, sitting, or eating. Being mindful has allowed Kathy to be truly present in her life, rather than being stuck living in the past or future. For this exercise, Kathy will be acting as your guide through a mindful meditation practice.  During the meditation you will begin to grasp the impermanence of life, and gain a greater sense of self-awareness. This will also begin to create new neural networks in the brain.

(8:50am) Stuart Shanker- "There’s no such thing as a bad kid: Why parents and teachers both need to believe that"

In this presentation Dr. Stuart Shanker shares scientific research and personal experiences that underpin his ardent convictions that there truly is no such thing as a bad kid. We cannot know a child’s true potential until we understand and address the stressors that are affecting that child’s behaviour, development and learning. Topics include:


  • How stress and stress cycles affect children’s behaviour
  • How to tell the difference between misbehaviour and stress behaviour
  • Overt and hidden stressors that affect children’s behaviour
  • Sensory issues that cause stress for children
  • Shanker Self-Reg® and how it can help parents and teacher identify and reduce stressors that negatively impact children’s behaviour, development and learning.


(10:30am) Pamela Toulouse- "What matters in indigenous education?" 

In this presentation, Dr. Toulouse frames current definitions of self-regulation within an Indigenous worldview. She explores well-being, curiousity, problem-solving, social interaction and lifelong learning within the sacred circle; paying particular attention to the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual elements of these terms. Self-regulation and holism become the foundation in understanding and honouring the uniqueness of Indigenous learners in K to 12.

(12:00pm) Anton Czachor- "Life, lessons, and education"

This presentation will start with Anton's story of his unique and troubled upbringing and time in the public school system. As with most students, he had various challenges and breakthroughs. He fondly remembers a few inspirational, and compassionate, teachers who gave him the ability to change the course of his life and helped him find and follow his passion for leadership and mentorship. Anton seeks to incorporate these positive experiences and passions into his future classrooms. His presentation has been crafted using life experience as well as what he has learned at Lakehead University studying psychology and education. The presentation will also reflect on the modern educational paradigms.

(1:00pm) Susan Hopkins- "Shifting from a self-control to a Self-Reg mindset: Four journeys and five lessons learned"

For centuries, going back at least as far as Plato, western societies and educators have viewed self-control as the key to human development, learning and morality.

And although self-control is clearly important, we have both scientific and prima facie evidence that self-control often falls short. In this presentation, Dr. Susan Hopkins argues for a new educational and human development paradigm based on self-regulation rather than self-control. She will discuss:


  • The limitations of the self-control mindset
  • Self-regulation: what is it really, and how does it affect child development and school achievement
  • Shanker Self-Reg® and how it helps us shift out of the self-control mindset
  • How Self-Reg can help us recognize and break the stress cycles that are negatively affecting students, educators and school communities.
  • Cognitive blinders that interfere with our ability to see the stressors behind many behaviour and learning problems.
  • Four journeys on the road to effective practice of Self-Reg in education
  • Five key Self-Reg lessons learned along the way


(2:15pm) Jean Clinton- "Experiencing relationships through a self-regulation lens"

This presentation will draw connections between early child brain development, the self-regulation framework, the drive for children to “feel felt”, and how the connection with adults builds the foundations for health.

(3:45pm) Brenda Smith-Chant- "Self-Reg and the science of hope: Building for a future"


Anyone who has raised or worked with children knows that hope is a crucial part of what enables us to keep striving when the going gets tough and what allows us to never give up in our efforts to support children. In this closing presentation Dr. Brenda Smith-Chant examines the importance of hope for children, parents and education. Her presentation will address issues and questions such as:


  • The connection between self-regulation and hope
  • The difference between hope and wishful thinking
  • The role of hope and other positive emotions in human development, education and parenting
  • Why Shanker is comfortable saying “there is no such thing as a bad child”
  • How Shanker Self-Reg® gives us a new way to be more hopeful about our kids and ourselves 


Day 2: Thursday May 10th, 2018

(8:45am) Norah Fryer- "A New Zealand narrative surrounding the exploration and discovery of developing personal strategies for self-regulation"

Some notions or ideas come into our academic lives and quickly leave.  Other ideas from our study come into our lives and leave such an impression that they stay with us for the entirety of our lives. What I would like to share with you may in fact sound like ‘a fairy-tale’, but it is a true account of the journey experienced by a group of New Zealand teachers  who, through support and encouragement  from Stuart Shanker, were able to step outside, and beyond, the parameters of their personal pedagogy, and embrace the opportunity to scientifically explore the concept of how human beings develop and learn.

(10:30am) Susan McHardy  "Movement is Medicine"

What is stress? How does our body respond to it? Although we can't always manage our stress levels, we can absolutely manage how we respond and react to it. This session will provide you with an integrated look at how exercise can help manage stress levels. Get ready to move and have fun!

(10:30am) Lucita Gonsalves & Christina Menel- "Yoga pilot project"

A pilot project offering yoga to students at the TRE-ADD program, using a case study approach, was carried out during summer camp in 2015. All the goals for the pilot project  depended on the profiles of the participants and were progressive throughout the project. A follow up case study was carried out in 2017 with 1 student from the previous pilot; the focus being on the effect yoga could have on target behaviours selected for the pilot. Data was collected and the outcomes will be discussed. Research shows that beyond traditional physical activity programs, yoga interventions have lasting effects on the emotional regulation and stress responses in children and adolescents with ASD. The yoga offered for the TRE-ADD students simply measured the skill acquisition within the sessions with an attempt to capture any changes that may have occurred in behaviour post Yoga.

The focus of each session was:


  • Relaxation training 
  • Child adapted yoga poses
  • Mindfulness exercises and wind down.


(12:00pm) Erin Valenzuela- "Balancing the weight of so many hats"

Erin’s presentation examines the day to day experiences she has gained while travelling the path towards becoming a teacher. She is a wife, mother, and student, and not always in that order; she wears these multiple hats with pride. Through this talk, she will explore all she has learned regarding the importance of time management and balancing life.

(1:00pm) Connie Gale- "Using games and play to develop self-regulation and to improve student learning"

This presentation will focus on multi-level multi-media games, and play activities, that support the development of self-regulation in all types of learners, especially those who have challenges in developing and generating appropriate communication, social abilities, and behavioural abilities. There will be a vast array of games, materials and activities shared that meet the varying needs of different learning styles. She will be communicating behaviour strategies that will help children improve student learning will be shared, and sensory based learning will be infused into this presentation. Assessment and evaluation will also be discussed. The games and activities that will be described can be used in both a home and school setting.


(2:45pm) Gail Molenaar- "Self-Reg and the forest: Relationships and echoes of indigenous teachings"


Moving slowly and looking closely allows children to experience their developing senses on a new level. See how Emergent Curriculum in a nature setting, honours curiosity and is a segue to learning about local First Nation culture. Discover why the journey of Self-Reg includes learning about the past and care for our future. Join me as we journey through a Forest Kindergarten. 

(2:45pm) Crystal Carbino- "The power of positive relationships"

Dr. Stuart Shanker, CEO and founder of the MEHRIT Centre, teaches us that “One of the challenges of education is that a certain amount of stress is normal and positive. The challenge is reducing the stressors that are not helping the child.” In this session, we will explore why creating caring and responsive relationships is essential to our ability to effectively co-regulate and explore ways balance stress to achieve an optimal state of learning.

Day 3: Friday May 11th, 2018

(8:45am) Dr. Lisa Bayrami- "Self-regulation: evaluating the functioning of the social engagement system"

Self-regulation will be reviewed in the framework of Polyvagal Theory, which suggests that autonomic function plays a role in the regulation of affective states and social behaviour. We will dive deeply into exploring the Social Engagement System as connected to Polyvagal Theory. Preliminary results of a study assessing the functioning of specific components of the Social Engagement System will be highlighted.  The connections between the target Social Engagement System components and emergent social behaviour will also be explored. 


(10:30am) Cathy Lethbridge- "You can’t pour from an empty cup—How Self-Reg® can put you in a better place for parenting, teaching, leading"


In this workshop participants will learn to take the Shanker Self-Reg framework personally.  Using Self-Reg, adults become more regulated and calm and are better able to offer calm and co-regulation to the children in their care.  Personal application of Self-Reg can also lead to improved health and well-being.  "When we say 'take it personally' what we mean is to reflect on personal self-regulatory strengths and opportunities for growth."  Stuart Shanker


(12:00pm) Chris Taylor- "Champion"

The label associated with being a student with an IEP or needing to attend a learning center can have huge impacts on a child’s academic confidence and overall outlook on school. Having a champion in their corner can boost students higher than they may think is possible. Growing up as one of those students, I can attest to the importance of having someone supporting and cheering for you and the successful outcome it can produce. This is my goal as an educator; to be a champion for those who struggle to believe in themselves.

(1:00pm) Angie Rosati- "Rethinking Child Behaviour as a Neurophysiological Phenomenon" 

How can recent findings from neuroscience regarding the neurophysiological roots of child behaviour be leveraged to inform our efforts to promote emotionally supportive relationships and ultimately student learning in the early years? First, we might train early educators to reframe child behavior, a key variable in the student-teacher relationship. Second, we might train educators to reframe the importance of emotionally supportive relationships from this same neurophysiological lens.

The need to reframe child behavior and student teacher relationships is more critical now than ever before. The rise in educator reported challenging behavior and educator stress is putting increasing strain on these critical relationships and by extension, threatening the early school success of many children. Reframing traditional views of child behavior, especially challenging behavior, using a neurophysiological lens offers the promise of a fresh view of the child and improved prospects for emotionally supportive student-teacher relationships.

(1:00pm) Casey Burgess- "From paper to practice: Understanding and embodiment of self-regulation in Ontario kindergarten classrooms"

Students in today’s classrooms are showing increasing difficulties in mental health, behaviour, and learning strategies.  Difficulties with self-regulation as part of human development are shown to be implicated in these challenges and self-regulation's importance in the early years is critical. However, there are 447 different ways that the term self-regulation is used in the literature, including confusion with concepts like self-monitoring and self-control. A developmental, neuroscience-based framework of self-regulation has been adopted by Ontario’s Ministry of Education as one of the four frames of the new full-day kindergarten program, but it isn’t yet clear how this framework is being implemented in the classroom.  This presentation will provide an overview of Ontario’s framework for self-regulation in the context of Ontario's new kindergarten program and current research being undertaken to examine its application in the classroom.