Mind Brain Education (MBE) is a philosophy of teaching that uses best practices in the classroom resulting from research in Neuroscience, Psychology, and Education. The core beliefs are: every brain (the essential organ for learning) is unique, all brains are not created equal, brains are changed with experience, are plastic, and relate new info to old info. 

Through the MBE lens your child will be seen and heard for who they are -  complex, asynchronistic learners who will need direction to develop affinities and support when faced with the eventual challenge.

Mind Brain Education

Classrooms are:        

  • Differentiated and responsive      
  • Multimodal                                           
  • Active and Meaningful
  • Scaffolded with high challenge and low risk

Because STUDENTS:  

  • Have unique and plastic brains
  • Possess infinitely varied strengths and weaknesses
  • Learn through personal experiences
  • Connect new knowledge to old knowledge

Therefore Teachers:

  • Are comfortable with many different types of students, each with a unique set of strengths and opportunities for growth
  • Create multiple opportunities for learning which is individually tailored to the needs of each child
  • Link learning to life
  • Design classrooms that challenge, engage and inspire while remaining positive, nurturing, and deeply committed to fostering a love of learning in every student
“Our son has repeated ‘We love how our brains feel when they are working hard. It’s really good to make mistakes so we can learn!’ after leaving Elizabeth Frank’s office. This comfort leads to confidence and makes all the progress possible. Thank you Liz, your tremendous understanding of children’s minds is one of your many gifts.”
— Lisi, Mom to M, age 7

Dr. Paul Yellin, Sage Heights's MBE advisor,  discusses the need for Mind Brain Education and how it has expanded the way educators and other professionals look at learning and teaching.

Dr. Paul B. Yellin is the Director of The Yellin Center for Mind, Brain, and Education in New York City.

What about grades?

Sage Heights uses formative assessments to communicate student progress with parents. Formative assessment includes a wide range of formal and informal assessments that teachers conduct throughout the school day and school year to gain insightful information about student progress. These kinds of assessments provide more information than simply number grades or scores and aim to provide a more complete view of a child’s learning habits, preferences and performance. Formative assessments are also used by teachers to improve their practice and teaching strategies to ensure their instruction is properly differentiated for all styles of learning and each specific student.

Portfolios are one example of formative assessments. They are a meaningful collection of children’s work/experiences, combined with teacher documentation, that illuminate each child’s interests, attitudes, range of skills, learning style and development over a period of time - typically one school year. Most importantly, portfolios are process-oriented rather than product-oriented. They aim to tell a learning story and highlight the individual’s journey as they grow throughout the learning process - this includes the triumphs and the failures which are both essential for learning.


Sample Day at Sage Heights 


Teachers greet students and parents, help children say goodbye, use the bathroom, and transition to the classroom. To ease into the day, children may read books on the rug, sing songs, answer a survey question or have table choice time with manipulatives as their peers get ready to start the morning.


This is a time for the whole class to join together, greet each other and discuss the plans for the day. This meeting may include elements such as reading a morning message, reviewing the daily schedule or taking attendance.


This flexible large block of time allows for both open explorations and focused investigations. As children work and transition through this important period of the day, teachers seamlessly work in “Brain Breaks” and “Mindful Minutes” to help children recharge, hone their energy and focus on creating meaning through their experiences.


To tie together the work period, the group meets once again to discuss the events of the morning work time. This is a time for reflection, sharing discoveries from the morning, asking new questions and making plans for future explorations.

This time can also be used as a social and emotional group discussion as teachers and children may use this meeting to discuss any social problems that arose during the morning. As a community, the group will come up with collaborative solutions to fix the individual problem at hand and to also tease out larger implications for creating a democratic and safe classroom environment.


Time is scheduled for gross motor activities such as dance or yoga classes or free-play to oxygenate the brain and balance learning with the whole body. It reduces stress and supports healthy brains.


Lunch is a social time of the day and children are encouraged to socialize and have conversations as they eat. Meaning is socially constructed and children are learning at all times of the day. Conversations during these times allow children to further dissect and process together what they experience during their work periods. During rest, some children may choose to sleep while others read quietly on their rest mat. For everyone, rest remains a time to slow down the pace and reset for the afternoon.


This is a shorter work period than in the morning, perfect for special classes such as music, tinkering, movement etc. This time can also be used for small group lessons in math and language, table choices or provocations introducing new materials or familiar materials in new ways. As long-term explorations become a greater part of the curriculum, this work period can also be used for shorter targeted projects related to answering children’s questions.


Children and teachers finish the day by reading books, singing songs and reflecting on the afternoon work time as parents come to pick up their children and we say goodbye for the day.