Reclaiming Our Students

Why Children Are More Anxious, Aggressive, and Shut Down Than Ever—And What We Can Do About It

Hannah Beach and Tamara Neufeld Strijack

Children are more anxious, aggressive, and shut down than ever.

Faced with this epidemic of emotional health crises and behavioral problems, teachers are asking themselves what went wrong. Why have we lost our students? More importantly, how can we get them back? Hannah Beach, a celebrated educator and specialist in the field of emotional health, and Tamara Neufeld Strijack, clinical counselor and academic dean of the acclaimed Neufeld Institute, provide a thoughtful guide to restoring the student-teacher relationship and creating the conditions for change. Reclaiming Our Students empowers teachers with relationship-based strategies to restore their leadership role and build emotional safety in the classroom.

You’ll learn:
• How to build, feed, and protect the student-teacher relationship
• Why children are anxious or bossy, aggressive or checked out, and what
you can do to address these behavioral issues at their root
• How you can help students and classes shift their identity as the “problem
student” or “bad class”
• Experiential activities for students of all ages that preserve and restore
emotional health and well-being

Plus, you’ll find special considerations and information for parents, principals, counselors, and home educators for building safety and support in the learning environment.

Combining Hannah’s groundbreaking experiential method to creating emotional health and community in the classroom with the Neufeld Institute’s insightful approach to building relationships and making sense of children, Reclaiming Our Students is required reading for teachers who not only want to understand and overcome daily challenges, but also re-connect to their calling as educators.


“The work that Hannah Beach and Tamara Neufeld Strijack have done to better understand the emotional needs of children is valuable for educators, parents, friends—indeed all of us with children in our lives. Their comprehensive research and insight will not only further children’s education but will truly reshape how we see emotion in the classroom—as a strength, not a weakness.”

“This book will be your companion. It will give you insight to the roots of ‘misbehavior’ and anchor you in the power of relationship and play as nature’s life preserver.”

“With insight and warmth, this book addresses the roots of the growing crisis in children’s emotional functioning, maturation, and capacity to learn: their inability to be in touch with their true feelings. The solutions offered, based on a deep understanding of human development, are intuitive and have the elegance of simplicity. An essential read for educators and for all concerned with the mentoring of our young.”

“This remarkable book will provide invaluable support to teachers as they confront the challenges of educating students in this troubled world. The authors provide practical solutions to virtually every situation, and they do so fully respecting the professionalism and leadership of teachers and the essential humanity of the children in their charge. A must-read book not only for teachers but also for parents, principals, and politicians. I couldn’t recommend it more highly.”


“Educators will find much inspiration and support in this book, one that offers insightful ways to connect with students. This compassionate work is all about respectful relationships, with students and ourselves, to shift negatives into positives. The authors’ developmental and relational knowledge is a boon for relieving anxiety, aggression, and other stressors in our digital era. A comprehensive resource for educators and the students they love.”


Hannah Beach is an award-winning educator, author, and keynote speaker. She was recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 2017 as one of five featured changemakers in Canada. Her bestselling I Can Dance book series won a 2017 gold International Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and has been adopted by multiple school boards across Canada. As the founder of celebrated experiential discovery programs at Dandelion Dance and Tournesol, Hannah has spent over twenty-five years developing and delivering programs for children and youth. She facilitates Neufeld courses, delivers professional development services across the country, and provides emotional health consulting to schools.

Tamara Neufeld Strijack is the academic dean of the Neufeld Institute, where she develops and delivers courses and workshops on child development for parents, teachers, and helping professionals around the world. Currently, she works as a registered clinical counselor and parent consultant. As a sessional instructor for the Faculty of Education at Vancouver Island University, Tamara lectures on child development from a relational and developmental lens. She provides emotional health consulting for schools and advises on the development of new programs that foster the social and emotional growth of all students. Connection, relationship, and play continue to be central themes in all her roles, both personally and professionally.

ISBN 978-1-989603-22-2
$21.00 CAD $15.95 USD
Published March 9, 2020
6 × 9 360 Pages
Paperback, ebook