About Us


Relax to Learn is a concept rooted in the precept of mindfulness – the rich experience that comes when we are living with present moment awareness and the calm we feel when we act mindfully to make clear positive choices about how we relate to the people and events in our lives.

Relax to Learn grew from Joan Stewart’s personal experience of mindfulness as a tool to manage her own anxiety and distractedness. She began to teach mindfulness principles to students, which led her to partner with Janice McDermott and co-create Grand Ideas from Within, a research based mindfulness program which allows students to experience and reflect on their emotions and ideas during a daily prerecorded guided imagery lesson in the classroom.

Ms. Stewart became aware that Grand Ideas from Within is not the only mindfulness program used in schools throughout the country…nor the world. Relax to Learn is an effort to bring Grand Ideas from Within and other mindfulness programs used in education to more students, teachers and parents.


JOAN M. STEWART, MSW—Received her BA in Psychology (1969) and Masters of Social Work (1997) with honors from Louisiana State University. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has counseled children, families and adults since 1999 in schools and in her private practice.

Prior to obtaining her social work degree, Joan developed and taught etiquette classes for teens (including “The Emily Post Summer Camp” at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, 1982-1987). She co-authored (as Joan Coles), Emily Post Talks with Teens about Manners and Etiquette (HarperCollins, 1985), and Emily Post’s Teen Etiquette (HarperCollins, 1995). She wrote a monthly etiquette column for nine years and represented The Post Institute on several national media tours, which included newspaper, radio, and television interviews.

Joan’s desire, through Relax to Learn, is to provide the opportunity for everyone who wishes…to be able to be still, be quiet, and be attentive.

KEN J. STEWART, BA, JD–Received his BA in Marketing (1970) and Juris Doctorate (1993) from Louisiana State University. Ken worked as an attorney until 2010, when he “retired” to support Joan in her work with Grand Ideas from Within and help bring their shared vision of Relax to Learn to the world!