(√) What is the Primary Goal of WTM?
To help children learn to feel their bodies so they understand what is going on inside with the outer world.
Children learn from bundles of sensations in their bodies. Becoming aware of these bundles is foundational to who they are and how they learn. In every emotion, thought, or need there are hidden sensations. WTM helps them find a key to sense the balance of their outer worlds and their inner authenticity. Learning who they are changes the trajectory of their lives.
Look for the messages behind your child’s movements, and new doors of patience and insight open. Wonder, are their movements a bridge between their inner and outer worlds, and what are these movements trying to create? This is the primary goal of the WTM method.
Children learn to sense the nature of their physicalness to empower themselves. Through the the tangible reality of their bodies, children grasp how to verbalize what is going on emotionally and mentally. New insights relieve frustrations and sensitivities. Once in awareness of the body to the mind the heart opens, their actions become kinder, and they calm down.
Parenting, teaching, counseling are complex and demanding jobs. When you teach children how to find themselves, they learn to help themselves.
(√) What is the History of WTM?
Wellness Through Movement (WTM) began in January of 2007 when an innovative elementary school, Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA), became interested in the Feldenkrais® Method (kinesthesia movement) with their physical education (P.E.) classes. Ms. Catherine Rosasco Mitchell, a Feldenkrais Practitioner, joined Hawaii Preparatory Academy physical education (P.E.) teacher, Susie Jones, to create the WTM program for elementary schools.
During the same period at the start of WTM, Rosasco-Mitchell was asked to take emergency-newborns of drug addicts (as a foster parent). Her first baby brought her into the world of children with learning difficulties. She decided to adopt a program for all children, regardless of condition.
For the next 13 years, Rosasco-Mitchell continued to refine and test the WTM program. Parker School, Waldorf, and Kohala Elementary (2008 -2016) helped. D results occurred. After three years of testing children a serendipitous discovery happened. According to teachers and parents at the Kohala Elementary School, well-being and cognitive disorders improved. In 2018 Rosasco-Mitchell presented her hypothesis that reeducating the sensory body improves well-being and cognitive disorders. According to Cathy Kerr of Brown University (2017), the reeducation of neuromuscular patterns could be related to the behavior of cognitive function.
As of August 2022, Rosasco-Mitchell continues working with professional educators and researchers to compile a comprehensive educational website to share WTM tips with all people working with elementary school children.
(√) Who is Behind the WTM Program?
Founder and Co-Creator 2004 – Present of WTM
Rosasco-Mitchell’s research began in the trenches of a crippling illness and the discovery of the Feldenkrais Method. Over a course of forty years she cross referenced research studies in body ownership, brain elasticity, development, and chronic conditions.
After working with tens of the thousands of people with chronic conditions she started speaking at scientific and movement conferences nationwide.
After being invited into elementary schools, and thanks to the input of elementary school teachers, administrators, parents, and children (2009-2019) she created the “Wellness Through Movement (WTM)” program. With the help of Principal Danny Garcia, she wrote and produced the animation video program, “Get Sensational Attention.” Jo Piltz, and with the guidance of Superindent Art Souza, helped her write “A New SENSORY Self Awareness.” Both programs and the book focus on helping children find their way out of depression, stress, and attention deficit by listening inside to their bodies.
Her personal joy and passion comes from joining others to cross-reference spiritual scriptures dedicated to mind, body, and heart/spirit connection with science.
M.A. Hawaii Preparatory Academy
Forty-year educator, Susie Jones was the physical education teacher for Hawaii Preparatory Academy. Susie initiated bringing Feldenrkais work into her physical education curriculum. She served as the “fun advisor” taking time during her Christmas break to help with the curriculum for the Wellness Through Movement P.E. program.
We will miss you Susie! And we will always carry on the love and joy you shared to others. Thank you for helping making this program possible.
Pilot School 2005-2013
Kohala Elementary School
Principal Danny Garcia, Teachers, and Parents
Thanks to the North and South Kohala communities on the Big Island of Hawaii for pioneering the program. A special thanks to Kohala Elementary school teachers and Principal Danny Garcia. And to the Hawaii Preparatory Academy (2004), your innovation for education helped us create the program and launch it in four other elementary schools.
Editors and Teacher Advisors 2020- 2022
Cherry Sanford, Teacher and Parent
For thirty years, Cherry had a wide range of teaching experiences in both public and private schools spanning Grades K-12. Teaching mostly at the elementary level, she has had high school and middle school experience as well. In addition to full time teaching positions, she has been a teacher’s assistant and substitute (both daily and long-term) in numerous classrooms in Hawaii, California, and Utah. For several years, she home-schooled her own elementary-aged children. Cherry was key in making the content understandable for parents and other teachers on this website. Mahalo Cherry for all those Tuesdays with Joyce O’connor editing content.
“I especially love working with young children. I am inspired by their enthusiasm, their inherent honesty, and their incessant desire to make activities playful and fun. As an elementary teacher for many years, I was interested in finding ways to optimize the qualities already natural to children and help them thrive in learning and in life. When I found WTM The Bridge, I discovered that by helping children become aware of sensations in their bodies, they could unlock doors to greater understanding in themselves and the world around them. I believe this is a huge step forward for educators across the nation and the globe. As it turns out, children already possess all they need for successful learning and growth. We, as trained educators in the process, merely need to show them how to find the keys.” Cherry Sanford
Joyce O’Connor, Teacher and Parent
O’Connor is a forty year veteran of education and specialized in juvenile rehabilitation. She is also a mother of four daughters. She has degrees in education, a Masters from Columbia and a Bachelors from Syracuse.
(√) Who are the Original Advisors?
Original Board of Advisors (2005-2013)
Catherine Rosasco Mitchell B.S: Teacher of Kinesthesia, 20 years
Susie Jones M.A: Physical Education Instructor/Administrator HPA
Esther Hughes M. Ed.: CSSS RT Comprehensive Student Support System Resource Teacher
Jody Lubrecht Ph.D.: Consulting Clinical Psychologist
Doug Connors: Laupahoehoe Train Museum, Grant Writer
And many, many teachers, administrators, and parents, we thank you.
(√) Who Made the Book Possible?
Jo Piltz, Catherine Rosasco-Mitchell, Principal Danny Garcia, and John Holland (2012)
(√) Who are the Long-Term Advisors of WTM?
Hundreds of Children!
Mahalo (thank you) to the hundreds of children from the elementary schools of Kohala, Parker, Hawaii Preparatory Academy, Waldorf, and Montessori.
William Prothero, Professor, UC Santa Barbara (2006-2018)
Bill Prothero has had forty years of experience doing both Earth Science and educational research. His research activities have been in ocean floor seismology, studies of earth structure beneath volcanoes, and the creation and evaluation of learning environments supported by internet technology. Bill is dedicated to making a difference in the consciousness of humanity with the environment and each other. His personal time is spent developing new educational software, playing jazz, and riding his bike.
Pat Linton, Former CEO of North Kohala Community Hospital (2007-2013)
Pat Linton also served as the Founding Executive Director of the new Seward Community Health Center in Seward, Alaska. Pat and Catherine met years ago when he came to North Hawaii to design, construct and open a prototypical hospital that blended allopathic and complementary medicine within a total healing environment in collaboration with Earl Bakken (inventor of the pacemaker and co-founder of Medtronic). Pat has served in a number of senior leadership positions throughout his career and has been dedicated to improving personal and community health in holistic ways through all of these endeavors.
His mission can be summed up by his quest to bring together his professional interests in healthcare leadership and his personal interests in spiritual growth through their common goal of healing. By creatively applying what he has explored and learned, his hope has been to better contribute to the good of all in the communities he serves.