Unlocking Joy and Building Community at Cordata Elementary School

Houttuynia cordataPictured: Houttuynia cordata

The word Cordata comes from the Latin adjective meaning ‘heart-shaped’. This heart love comes through at Cordata Elementary where staff are dedicated to creating a safe, loving, supportive environment for their kids.

I recently had the privilege of facilitating an improv workshop with approximately 40 teachers at Cordata Elementary here in Bellingham. The principal, Analisa Ficklin, was a participant in a multi-session improv class that I taught. Last year I told her about the book, “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, Body, and the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk. (I have written about the book a few times on this blog.) She devoured it, and she started researching a group she had read about in the book – Urban Improv – a boston-based program that has impacted over 75,000 students in 125 schools in the Boston area.

I am more and more convinced that improv is a powerful tool for so many realms, not least of which are the children in our communities. I asked Analisa to respond to some questions after my improv workshop to give you a sense of her school, their vision, why she invited me to do improv with the teachers, and what impact it has had.

Here’s Analisa in her own words. Continue reading “Unlocking Joy and Building Community at Cordata Elementary School”