Director and Co-Founder
Janice Toben is an educational innovator whose work focuses on the design and teaching of social and emotional learning (SEL) practices that promote belonging within a community alongside vital life skills for students and adults. Her work spans four decades and has touched the lives of students, educators, administrators and parents at public and independent schools worldwide.
Janice’s foundational contributions to the field of SEL include:
· Design of “Open Session”, a student-driven problem-solving inquiry format for middle schoolers and adults to build collective empathy and resilience.
· Design and implementation of a comprehensive catalogue of lessons that creatively foster interpersonal and intrapersonal skills for early, mid-elementary grades, and student Advisory programs.
· Co-creation of the video, "Constructing Learning: The Nueva Forts Experience,” focused on imaginative cooperative outdoor play, which flourishes through student agreements and adult respect for children's free play.
· Development of experiential workshops and facilitation of professional and personal renewal programs for teachers at the Center for Advancement and Renewal of Educators, a program of the San Francisco Unified School District.
Janice has conducted programs and given presentations at Teachers College, Columbia University, Wheelock College, NAIS, Bay Area Teacher Development Collaborative and the San Francisco Unified School District, among many others.
Her student "check in" lesson on the use of wire to promote awareness and sharing of emotions appears in the video “Emotional Intelligence: A New Vision for Educators,” based on the seminal book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman (1995).
Janice taught at the elementary and middle school level for 30 years. She is the former Director of Social and Emotional Learning at The Nueva School, outside San Francisco. She co-founded The Institute for Social and Emotional Learning (IFSEL) in 2016.
She earned a B.A. from Whitman College and an M.Ed. in Creativity and Curriculum from Bowling Green State University. Janice loves contemporary poetry, growing vegetables, and yoga. She is married and has two adult sons and two grandchildren.