STAYTON — Students who have struggled with focusing in the classroom will now be able to use critical thinking skills to respond mindfully rather than react impulsively, thanks to a new three-year social-cognitive program at St. Mary School here. Social-cognitive specialist Hanna Bogen, co-creator of Brain Talk Therapy, already has begun making visits to the school to implement her curriculum.

Based in California, Bogen is an expert in social communication and self-regulation. During her first visit with the school, she taught self-regulation, executive functioning, mindfulness and social-cognitive strategies. Some of these strategies include things like helping people gain control of their thoughts when they get distracted by things such as noises or bright lights.

“Many students today are not given the opportunity to hone these skills,” says Bogen. “The lack of self-regulation skill can lead to social, emotional and academic difficulties, resulting in strained relationships with peers, difficulties in the classroom, organizational and time management struggles, poor academic performance, and disciplinary issues,” she said. “Understanding how your brain works is the most powerful tool we can give your child.” 

On her first day consulting, she began by educating the teachers about the brain. This included how teachers can help students use the executive function capacities of their prefrontal cortex to learn to reduce impulsive behavior. The teachers also focused on how to help students understand that their learning is impacted by their behaviors and attitudes.

“Through our work with Hanna, I have learned in-depth information about executive functioning and emotional intelligence,” says first-grade teacher Ann Robinson. “Hanna provided concrete ideas and resources that I could use with my students. One thing my class has already learned about is the emotional thermometer. With this tool, we check how we are feeling and manage our feelings in appropriate ways.”


Find out more

For more information on the Brain Talk program, go to For more on St. Mary School, go to