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Going 'upstream' - Reimagining education with Dr Jean Clinton

24 January, 2024

This episode began when a friend of mine, messaged me and said - "Andrew, you've got to hear this woman speak!"

She was right.

Dr Jean Clinton is an amazing reservoir of deep understanding about how to cultivate environments where young children can thrive!

Author of Love Builds Brains she shares her own experience of 'the edge' - of working directly with young people who had crashed and burned and destroyed their lives - and how we need to intervene in young people's lives BEFORE they get to the edge! This is what she calls being an 'upstreamer'.

In this episode we explore:

  • How do we create genuine life skills in children

  • How do we create the environments around children for these competencies to grow?

  • The crucial role that relationship, belonging and connectedness plays in learning

  • What is 'doing well' in life? What are the assumptions we carry in school?

  • What is your role as a parent or educator - what is your purpose?

  • Education as human development and flourishing - not knowledge alone

  • The science behind building better brains


Dr. Jean Clinton is a Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, division of Child Psychiatry, Ontario Canada. Dr. Clinton was appointed as an education advisor to the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Education 2014 - 2018.

She is a trainer in Dr. Bruce Perry’s Neurosequential Model in Education (NME). She works intensively with Michael Fullan and his New Pedagogies for Deep Learning team. She is also a member on the MindUP Scientific Advisory Board, as well as a MindUp for Families advisor. Dr. Clinton was a Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy, and has been a Zero to Three Academy Fellow since 2013.

She has been a consultant to children and youth mental health programs, child welfare, and primary care for over 35years. Her special interest lies in brain development, and the crucial role relationships, belonging and connectedness play.

Jean optimistically believes that having a system of compassionate system awareness leadership, competency based, deep learning and relationally focussed education of our children and young people is the road to a better and sustainable world. Good at learning, good at life.


Be sure to check out our new home for education programs!

Links and sources mentioned in this episode:


"The answers you need are never very far away - you just need to know the right questions to ask."

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