Goldie Hawn at SXSWedu: Kids are Stressed, Teach Brain Breaks

SXSW isn’t just a tech, music and film conference. It’s a gaming conference. And a fashion conference. And a health and medical tech conference. There’s SXSports, SXgood and SXcreate, and those are just the ones that run simultaneously with SXSW Interactive, Film and Music Festival.

The week before the Interactive nerds come to town (present company included) and two weeks before the uber-cool SXSW music crowd arrives, educators flock to Austin for South by Southwest Edu March 9-12.

In five years, edu has grown from a regional Texas event to an international tech and education conference, featuring thought leaders and advocates like Jeffrey Tambor, Dr. Jill Biden, Guy Kawasaki, and Goldie Hawn.

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all,” Hawn told Thursday’s SXSWedu closing program crowd. “We don’t think children have the same kind of stressors we have, but we’re wrong.” 

The academy award-winning actress’ Hawn Foundation brings brain and mental health into the classroom with its MindUP program for pre-kindergartners through eighth-graders. What we might call practicing mindfulness, Hawn calls brain breaks for kids, where they learn to embrace their emotions in times of stress.

In the MindUP program, kids take three brain breaks during the day, in which they sit quietly, practice deep breathing and focus on a sound.

And the program is working. “I’ve watched children change from being frightened to feeling excited [about life],” Hawn told SUCCESS magazine for a 2014 feature.

Hawn joined Sal Khan of the Khan Academy, Bob Santelli of the Grammy Museum and Mimi Ito of the University of California Irvine at the SXSWedu closing program Thursday. SUCCESS magazine’s Shelby Skrhak and Josh Ellis are live in Austin attending SXSW Interactive, which kicks off today.

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Shelby Skrhak

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