The Move This World Story

Move This World (MTW) helps students and educators in classrooms across the country understand, express and manage their emotions healthily in order to create safe and supportive environments where effective teaching and learning can occur.

When Founder and CEO Sara Potler LaHayne first embarked as a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia in 2007, it struck her as odd that students in conflict ridden Bogota were being taught about empathy and conflict resolution through textbooks. Students weren’t interested in reading about these important concepts.

One day at recess, she watched students passionately rock out to reggaeton music playing from a boombox in the school parking lot. She saw how inspired students were through their laughter and movement and it clicked. As a lifelong dancer, she knew creative expression could engage youth in powerful conflict resolution strategies, increase capacities for social emotional learning, and promote civic engagement. It was then that she approached the school’s physical education teacher to discuss how she could use something all of the Colombian students loved – music and dance – to inspire those same social, emotional and civic skills being taught in their textbooks. In partnership with her Fulbright research team, educators and creative arts therapists, she developed and implemented the first Move This World (MTW) social emotional learning curriculum.

After returning to the US, Sara and her team worked with the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and the American Institute for Research in order to adapt the program to better meet the needs of educators and students. The curriculum was carefully developed to align to the five core social emotional competencies as defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

Since its creation, MTW has valued the support and feedback of our inspiring partners and has grown from a direct service organization to a train-the-trainer professional development model. Now, in its most impactful iteration, MTW provides access to its social emotional learning curriculum through its online platform.  Through developmentally aligned educational videos and digital resources, Move This World ritualizes a daily practice of identifying, expressing and managing emotions.  By providing 24/7 access to SEL videos, a resource library and a dedicated wellbeing consultant, Move This World is increasing accessibility to effective social emotional learning.

Encouraging classrooms to strengthen social emotional learning in fun and interactive ways improves academic achievement, builds empathy and resilience, develops emotional management skills and transforms school culture.  Are you ready to Move This World?


Learn more about Move This World’s Pre-K to 12 social emotional learning program and curriculum.