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An educational program providing tools for teachers to help kids with difficult feelings and challenging behaviors


Date Established 01/2008
Founder Nina Rappaport Rowan
Headquarters San Francisco, CA, USA
Tech, Parenting
Press Contact Ned Kraft


Kimochis is an educational program built upon sound research and theories of child development and social emotional learning (SEL). The Kimochis SEL System combines an easy-to-use curriculum, leveraging proven tools and language, with stuffed, cuddly characters. The kids immediately connect with the characters and then the learning begins. Each Kimochis character has a different personality and temperament so that kids and teachers can see themselves and others in the characters. By having the characters as role models, classrooms can safely discuss feelings and behaviors without singling anyone out.

Kimochis are used primarily by educators and mental health professionals who want to help others become more resilient, feel more connected and be more productive or get through difficult circumstances. With Kimochis in the classroom kids develop prosocial behaviors by dealing skillfully with their emotions and better understanding others. Kimochis easily and quickly helps kids (and adults) become more resilient and better cope with the challenges of modern life, leading to improved school climates and better educational outcomes. Kimochis kids become productive and effective communicators – helping them to make and keep friends and get and keep a job as they grow older.

Founding Story

Founder, Nina Rappaport Rowan was inspired to develop Kimochis in 2008 after the Columbine High School Shooting in Colorado. This unthinkable and haunting event was the specific moment in Nina’s life that changed the way she looked at the world. She began to ask herself ‘Why did this happen? What are we doing wrong? How can our children be so disconnected and self-destructive? And what can I do about it?’. All of these questions stirred in Nina’s head which ultimately led to the inspiration to create Kimochis. Nina is a family entertainment professional and executive producer of Despicable Me.To develop the educational component, Nina partnered with pioneering Speech Language Pathologist Ellen Dodge, who continues to be the Education Director at Kimochis.


Nina Rappaport Rowan

Creator and Founder

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Ms. Rappaport Rowan, the creator of Kimochis, is a leader in the field of animation. She was inspired to develop Kimochis after the Columbine High School Shooting in Colorado. Producer of the 1998 Academy Award® winning Best Animated Short Film, Bunny, and Executive Producer of Universal’s blockbuster animated feature Despicable Me, Rowan is known for her expert knowledge of animation and her skill in developing teams that can tackle innovative and complex animated and live-action projects. Ms. Rappaport Rowan is currently President of TOT Industries, located in Marin County, CA, which she founded in 2006. TOT develops creative content, provides strategic guidance, and flawlessly executes all manner of creative products including books, live-action film, toys, animated feature films and animation television production for companies large and small, and kids of all ages.

Ned Kraft


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Ned has been CEO of Kimochis since 2017 after a career in Silicon Valley as an engineer, manager, executive and turnaround consultant. He now helps schools by combining the proven Kimochis Social Emotional Learning Tool Kit with his unique organizational leadership approach.

When the pandemic closed down schools, Ned redirected Kimochis to a new goal: helping as many kids and schools as they can and hope they remember Kimochis at budget time. This turned into the development of Kimochis for All - a free program for any school using Kimochis foundational language and tools.

Prior to leading Kimochis, Ned has led multiple organizations as an executive and turnaround consultant; managing teams of up to 600 employees. He has coached leaders and teams at both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies for over 10 years, including engagements at Google, SunPower, Cepheid, Space Systems Loral, Conoco-Phillips and dozens of others.

He is an expert in simplification, focus, team building, and delivering solutions to difficult problems on tight schedules and budgets, working in almost every field imaginable, including: Alternative energy, wireless communication, factory automation, heavy manufacturing, medical, personal computers, inkjet and laser printers, internet marketing, real estate and integrated circuit development...and now, education and social emotional learning with Kimochis.

Ned also has several U.S. Patents for product and process innovation and has worked as a professional musician for crowds up to 40,000 and performed at Carnegie Hall. He loves to travel the world with his wife, Deborah. Reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.

Ellen Dodge

Education Director and Founder

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Ellen is passionate about kids, having 3 children of her own, and having spent her entire career working and consulting with schools to help kids learn the tools to be awesome communicators. Communication is the foundational tool to well-being and a successful, happy life with the key to happiness, wellness, and life success lying in one’s ability to effectively and kindly communicate ideas and feelings.

For over 35 years, Ellen has been a pioneering speech-language pathologist. For the last 13 years she has been the Education Director of Kimochis, being part of the founding team and developing the Kimochis Curriculum. She works directly with hundreds of schools each year to implement the Kimochis Social Emotional Learning system.

She learned long ago that feelings fuel behaviors and all children benefit from being able to truly understand what feelings are and what practices are needed to regulate them in positive ways. She saw first-hand teaching these basic communication skills allowed children to express challenging feelings which, as a result, eliminated a lot of negative behaviors—throughout entire schools. This is when she wrote her first groundbreaking book for speech language pathologists, CommunicationLab, so all schools could teach these transformational tools to children.

Ellen is also an internationally recognized leader in program development and training in the areas of speech-language pathology, character education, and parent education. Her decades of research and training have allowed her to publish numerous books and articles about the importance of teaching social-emotional learning tools and practices.

She lives in Northern California, treasures her three older girls who are out in this world with their own BIG feelings, and actively doing what she said to them each morning as they left for school.




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