About the Inner Strength System
Designed for High School
The Inner Strength Teen Program is the only school mindfulness program in Philadelphia developed specifically for high school students.
Educator Amy Edelstein created the program with adolescents in mind, an age group that is facing important life-decisions.
The goal of the program is to provide essential support and to foster the insight, creativity and emerging selfhood of our city’s adolescents.
The program’s mission is to provide aspiring youth with tools to self reflect, develop interpersonal skills, and gain perspective on how our culture and physiology affect us.
This self-development creates inner strength, providing resources for teens to manage challenges and succeed as they move on to higher education and enter the workforce.
Whole School Supports
Inner Strength partners with schools to help provide students, teachers, and administrators with tools to uplift the climate, improve relationships, augment focus, and create more supportive learning environments. Schools are populated by people. The culture of testing often obscures the humanity of teachers and students, as all rush to perform or discipline harshly when performance falls below standard. Supporting the social-emotional wellness of students and staff alleviates many disruptions and distractions. Once you lay the foundation for a reflective classroom, one that implements learning activities that cultivate calm, curiosity and care, you’ll allow the flowering of a student’s creative potential and make schools true places of learning and discovery.
This whole school support model ensures that everyone benefits from integrating self-care and self-reflection into the fabric of the school.
The Inner Strength Teen Program
Through age-appropriate lessons on the development of the brain and on cultural shifts, students become archaeologists of themselves. They learn to see their experience in a much bigger context. Able to excavate layers of influence, adolescents learn the invaluable skill of systems thinking, being able to see large-scale influence on their personal experience. Most report feeling a sense of ease and relief, understanding that their personal challenges are not theirs alone.
Results & Impact
The broad perspective and multi-faceted approach gives adolescents tools to transform the stresses that assault them from within and without. It also introduces them to a worldview that can directly help them engage productively with our rapidly changing world.
Students emerge from this inquiry and practice more deeply connected and connected to life. They regularly describe experiencing more calm, space, less stress and anxiety, greater happiness, and a sense of possibility.
External research studies show that Inner Strength student participants show statistically significant improvement in long term self-regulation, self-compassion, success orientation, and a decrease in rumination. These are all indicators of improved mental health and are correlated to improved learning outcomes.
The teens of today are stewards of our shared future. The Inner Strength Teen Program gives them tools to be responsible, innovative, and open-hearted.
Explore Bringing Inner Strength to Your School
Contact admin AT innerstrengthfoundation.net to explore how you could bring the Inner Strength System to your school.
Students explore the nature of mind, thought, and awareness. They learn and practice 6 essential evidence-based mindfulness techniques. These tools are shown to have a demonstrable effect on classroom climate and on individual student emotional well-being. Students learn to manage stress, anxiety, and anger. By practicing these simple tools together and on their own with free audio supports, students cultivate focus, relaxation, and calm.
The program is interactive and fun. Our pedagogical design fosters curiosity and ease. Respecting teens’ experience while holding high expectations of them builds a stable and strong foundation of self. Creative and experiential teaching techniques makes the classes engaged, transformative, and fun, inspiring students to make the joy of mindful awareness a lifelong practice.
DevelopmentalStudents love learning about the brain and, more specifically, their brains. How deeply are we conditioned by 300 million years of brain development? What reptilian survival instincts are buried deep within us, no matter how hip and sophisticated we may be? Learning about these influences–why we panic and want to disappear or lash out in the ways we do validates an adolescents’ inner experience. It demystifies and depersonalizes those reactions, weeding out self-recrimination while building in self-regulation.
ApplicableWhat’s happening in the adolescent brain? Learning about the unique and critical role of adolescent brain growth gives students positive pride in the often confusing stage of development they find themselves in the midst of. Most importantly, understanding the physiological conditioning they are propelled by gives adolescents the wherewithal to build in safety mechanisms and become responsible for themselves.
ContextualStudents experience the power of transformative learning through participatory lessons showing the influence of history. They discover how major shifts over the last 800 years have significantly changed our experience of life. We’ve gained individual freedoms and responsibilities, as well as stresses. As students come to appreciate the interplay between their personal experience and the culture around them they also discover a greater purpose for their struggle: the solutions they find for their concerns are cultural solutions. We need to develop new social structures for the level of freedom we now have, and this generation discovers they have crucial role to play.
Systems-BasedLearning to think systemically, integrating personal experience, emotional responses, cultural factors, historical trajectory, and neurological impulses creates flexibility and stimulates a student’s interest in themselves and in life. This multi-dimensional approach creates plasticity and resilience, helping students develop cognitive and emotional skills necessary to excel in our rapidly changing world.
RelationalAdolescence is characterized by the increased importance of peer-to-peer relationships. Yet teens are rarely taught how to cultivate positive relationships. Mindfulness trains students to be able to pause before drawing strong conclusions about themselves or others, allowing them to find more wholesome ways of interacting and connecting. As they cultivate objectivity on their thoughts and feelings, they develop the space to connect and engage with others.
CompassionateStudents often say the compassion exercises are their favorite (after of course the chocolate meditation). Perhaps surprisingly, they love to learn the art of caring and extending generosity of spirit. Some of the latest neuroscience research studies show that within a remarkably short period of time, kids as young as 4 years old, show change from these exercises. Adolescents regularly report that compassion meditation helps them feel connected and happier.
To schedule an informational
school visit, contact us.
Participating High Schools
Staff Development Programs
Parent Night Presentations
Teen Mindfulness Retreats & Fieldtrips
Contact us for more details about these programs.