What happens when you combine the ingredients for neuroplasticity and applied theory in practice? You get what I have referred to for years as THE MARINADE. The integration, or melding of these ingredients (recent findings in neuroscience combined with 5 major theoretical basis/applications) are necessary for social and emotional learning to become social and emotional intelligence.

Experiences (lived experiences/experiential) that are (ingredients for neuroplasticity):

  1. Visceral
  2. Redundant
  3. Require intentional focus
  4. Experiential
  5. Consistent
  6. Novel
  7. Movement/Aerobic (action/movement is required to activate neurons)
  8. Sense of meaning/purpose

Combined with the five following theoretical basis/applications:

Experiential Learning

Social Learning

Symbolic Interactionism

Strength-Based and

Ecological Systems Theories =


DIRT GROUP is an award winning, trauma and resiliency informed children’s mental health application grounded in social and emotional learning, in the context of an experiential group gardening, farming, foods, and creative arts project. Informed by recent findings in neuroscience and applied theory in practice the implications for practice in youth development are profound.

For more information please visit

Menakem, R. (2017) My grandmother’s hands

Siegel, D. (2011) Mindsight

Siegel, D. (2012) The pocket guide to interpersonal neurobiology

Turck, K.S. (2011) DIRT GROUP: Growing to learn, learning to grow. How does participation in experiential gardening groups influence social skill development in at-risk youth.

Van der Kolk, B. (2017) The Body Keeps the Score

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s