“Brain-Changing Strategies to Trauma-Proof Our Schools: A Heart-Centered Movement for Wiring Well-Being” isn’t exactly the type of title that will have most book lovers searching online or scurrying to the local bookstore.
But for Belmont Shore resident Maggie Kline, her third book — which doesn’t come out until next month — is already getting some buzz in the academic community. In fact, she has been invited to present her findings at the Harvard/MIT/Johns Hopkins Joint Virtual Conference on Learning and the Brain on Nov. 7-8.
Kline retired recently. For 33 years her psychotherapy office was housed on the second floor of the Shore Business Center building on Second Street. But she also has been employed in the Long Beach Unified School District, as a teacher in North Kenai, Alaska, where she lived in a log cabin without electricity or running water, and, for one summer, was New Jersey’s only female Good Humor ice cream driver.
“Well, I grew up in Clifton, N.J., and I signed up for the Peace Corps after graduating from Rider College, but never got called,” she said with a laugh. “So, I went to work for Good Humor. I was the first Good Humor lady driver in New Jersey.”
Kline moved to California in 1968 and got her master’s degree in counseling education at Long Beach State. Her first LBUSD teaching position was at Hudson Elementary School. She also held district positions as a counselor and school psychologist.
Teaching on the west side of Long Beach, she found many youngsters who were coming from homes where their needs were not getting met. Kline said children coming from Southeast Asia and Central America, where they had to deal with escaping from violence and war, had difficulty in learning.
“What I found was that I could tell what parents were like after meeting the kids,” she said. “I found it more interesting in helping kids to feel better and helping parents to have skills to help the kids. I had a gift for helping children and adults in feeling better.”
Kline is co-author with Dr. Peter A. Levine of two other books: “Trauma Through a Child’s Eyes,” and “Trauma-Proofing Your Kids.” The first book has been translated into 21 languages. Her third book is the first she has self-authored.
Kline says most people think trauma is about the event — the school shooting, the sex molestation — but she says trauma is about what happens to the body and the nervous system.
“I teach people how to have the resiliency and how their brain and body work when frightened, when frozen, when they want to run or hide and when they shake,” she said. “I teach kids and adults to notice before their emotions get to them and they act out. I work with the physical body as well as the emotions.”
“Brain-Changing Strategies to Trauma-Proof Our Schools” is targeted to school personnel, to mental health workers and administrators, Kline said.
“It’s an academic book,” she said. “I want to really start a movement of heart-centered activities in the classroom that are easy to do to help children feel better about their bodies and brains.”
While writing the book, Kline envisioned the title being, “#Safe Schools,” but the publishers nixed that idea.
“I would have like that better,” she said, “but I’m a trauma expert and they liked the idea of getting trauma-proof in the title because I’m already known for that.”
Kline, who has conducted workshops in more than 50 cities over five continents, was supposed to be in Istanbul, Turkey, but the pandemic put a halt to that trip.
“I was ready to return the registration money, but no one wanted their money back,” she said. “They’re all willing to wait until I can travel again.”
Kline’s book was schedule to be released in bookstores on Tuesday, Nov. 3. It is available online at the Penguin Random House website.
For those interested in watching Kline participate in the Harvard/MIT/Johns Hopkins Joint Virtual Conference on Learning and the Brain on Nov. 7-8, go to https://lnkd.in/eFimyus.