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The Little Grooves in the Brain

My own daughter Leila is 19 months old. She runs around with almost endless energy and talks to anyone and anything that will listen. I get weekly emails about her development from various websites. Activities, food, songs, and almost anything else I could ever want to know about shows up in my email box, or I can search for online on a need-know basis. I am even reading Sitting Still Like a Frog and the Mindful Child so that I can begin creating an environment that helps her relax, empowers her to be in the present, and builds resiliency.

Today, I left my to do list and closed my computer. We played with her little piano, read two books, and kicked around her most favorite toy, a soccer ball. I’m so grateful to have this time with her to help develop the foundation for her life.

All the activities that we do with Leila at this age are building these little grooves. Grooves that create connections between different parts of the brain that will mold her into the person that she will be when she’s older. Everything has meaning and impact on her. How we physically connect, the tone of my voice, and the games we play all form new and deepen existing grooves.

So many of the little grooves in our LR students have already been formed during stressful, crisis situations. Through Little Ripples, we are helping to develop positive new grooves through mindfulness, touch, games, and movement. Equally important is also helping the LR teachers to also play, connect through positive touch, and relax. This program is as much for the teachers as it is for the students.

The fourteen LR teachers experienced extreme violence as girls in Darfur, seeing the destruction of their villages, the killing of family and friends, and harrowing walks across the desert to the relative safety of the camps. This affected their own development and how they interact with each other and the children. The trauma transfer and its effects on the future of this population are very real. We hope that this program will not only help them become stronger leaders in the community, but offer opportunities to address and heal from the trauma, ultimately forming new, positive grooves.

LP animals
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at the beach
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LP drawing
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LP Camp Darfur
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