At each learning event Mind in the Making holds to share the key life skills with folks around the country we take time in the beginning to get to know each other. Sometimes people initially feel like it is a lot of time to use up in training, but by the end of our three days together everyone realizes that taking time to get to know each other was the foundation to our rich learning experience.
As Jack Shonkoff from Harvard University says, “There is no learning without relationships.” This is true for all of us; children and adults.
I recently travelled to Austin, Texas to facilitate a Mind in the Making Seven Essential Life Skills Institute. I felt inspired by the participants and how they developed a strong community of learners in just three days. Our group consisted of principals, literacy specialists, and early learning administrators and teachers. It is amazing when phenomenal people are working diligently on behalf of children in our beautiful country. Their commitment to life-long learning, self-reflection and identifying new ways to implement new knowledge epitomizes the learning journey.
Mind in the Making Institutes always spark conversations as we embark upon the learning journey to understand the how of learning that is based on scientific evidence. The learning journey starts with the adult, then we explore the research and then identify ways this experience and information can positively impact the children in our lives. One of the first experiences is self assessing Focus and Self Control in us. Participants learn that the promotion of this skill often depends on how we feel and if our needs are met. For example, if we are tired or hungry our ability to focus may not be as good as it is when we are rested and fed. This is true for children, too. The participants realized how important it is for us to be aware of this when teaching and parenting.
In Austin a participant recorded the following when asked what her Hopes and Dreams were for Mind in the Making:
I hope to take this back to my work with children and families and use this knowledge to create a conversation around best ways to support children. I see this as a new tool to plant seeds and spark conversation.
Isn’t that what learning and building community are all about? Planting seeds and sparking conversation!
Thanks Austin. I can’t wait to see where you take Mind in the Making!
It was a gift to learn alongside with you.
~ Erin Ramsey, Senior Program Director for Mind in the Making at Families and Work Institute.