East Boston families participate in training on social and emotional development for young children

April 23, 2013 at 9:52 am

Thirty families in East Boston recently began an in-depth training on how social and emotional development is linked to children’s academic success through Harvard’s Mind Matters: Families Make a Difference program and BPS’ Parent University.

The 20-hour workshop, developed by Harvard Public Affairs and Communication’s public school programming and professional development team and rooted in current brain research, shows parents strategies for fostering the development of essential life skills for their children through hands-on activities, group sharing and discussion. Skills learned include focus and self-control, critical thinking and taking on challenges.  Every week families take home learning materials and activities to reinforce concepts covered in the series.

In response to East Boston’s large Hispanic community, this particular cohort—one of four groups throughout Boston--is being facilitated exclusively in Spanish by co-facilitators Juan-Carlos Ferrufino and Elsa Flores, both of Thrive in 5. Thrive in 5 is a non-profit partnering with families, early education and care providers, health providers, and other community organizations to ensure children enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

At the first session, participants were welcomed by Harvard Public Affairs and Communication staff, as well as Dr. Margaret Sheridan and her team from Harvard Medical School’s Boston Labs of Cognitive Neuroscience (LCN). Together they provided a bilingual survey on cognitive brain development, created and administered by the Sheridan Lab at Children’s Hospital. For information related to the research, click here.

In addition to East Boston, the series will be offered this spring in Allston-Brighton, Hyde Park, and Jamaica Plain.

For more information on participating in The Mind Matters: Families Make a Difference series, please contact ivana_freitas@harvard.edu or call 617-496-8698.