Screenshot 2019-11-08 at 6.55_edited.jpg
Kids Playing Treasure Hunt

Cultivating Connections that Matter

Amplifying Learning

Cultivating Connections that Matter work with students, teachers, schools, parents and anyone else interested in making learning relevant to students and connected to the real world.


What We Do

We know there is value in pushing students outside a protective academic bubble to participate in real world learning and service, but teachers and schools struggle to find time, resources, and assessable outcomes. We aim to work with all community members to challenges students to develop their own meaningful answers to real world questions.

Art Fun


Educational solutions tailored to your learning goals

Confident Female Teacher
Teacher and Student
Classmates in the Library

I was pretty focused on my reputation before this unit. If I hadn't gone through this unit I wouldn't be as focused on what makes a meaningful life and focusing on what you yourself enjoy and just doing it for the reputation and to please others. I've been thinking about this unit outside of class all day. We don't want to die like Ivan Illyich with such huge regret.

Ben, G9

Who We Are

Teachers, Trainers, Researchers, Builders, Designers

Ellen Heyting

Ellen is a teacher, educational researcher, trainer, peace educator, instructional coach and curriculum development consultant. She is from sunny Melbourne, Australia but grew up in the international schools system and has taught in Melbourne, Beijing, Singapore and Helsinki. Her classroom experience has led her to specialise in embedding community connections and service learning into middle years classrooms as well as incorporating the IBDP CAS programme in the older years. She is currently working on her PhD which focuses on using psychological belonging as a tool to increase the academic success of students from non-elite backgrounds who are attending elite educational institutions. As a member of IBEN and with a background in psychology, Ellen knows the power of personalised and relevant experiences and loves co-teaching, facilitating, writing and planning. She loves everything about learning and believes that education can be a force to unite people for peace and a sustainable future!

Rachael Thrash

Rachael Thrash is a master teacher who has spent her career supporting students and teachers facing questions that matter. Rachael believes that student learning is a process that begins with each individual’s perspective. Inciting students to question initial understandings encourages them to broaden their awareness and develop a commitment to thoughtful action.With a Masters from Brown University, Rachael has taught Humanities and English in independent US schools, public community colleges, and international IB schools. She launched a school-wide enrichment department providing co-curricular learning for preK-12 students while developing a mentor program for early career educators.Currently, Rachael teaches MYP English and leads the growing Service as Action program at the International School of Helsinki. In this role, Rachael supports faculty to initiate student-inspired thoughtful action grounded in curricular inquiry.


Recent Publications and Presentations


Contact Us

We'd love to talk to you about how we could work with you or members of your community about cultivating connections that matter in your students. Please get in touch!

Selkämerenkatu 11


Chalkboard Drawings

©2019 by ISHelsinki. Proudly created with

This site was designed with the
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now