In the last post, Kindergarten Social Aptitude Indicates Future Success in College, Jobs, we took a look at the different social skills in Kindergartners that were indicators of success later in life.  The post spurred some thoughts on a some past conferences and a movement that is looking to change how the world views children and their development.

When I went to my first NAEYC conference, I maybe knew 3 of the presenters and had no idea how to figure out which sections to attend.  So many seemed intriguing.  I’m not really sure how I ended up in the presentation on Mind in the Making, but I was really happy that I did.

There were two presenters behind a long white table at the front of a white room–I knew one was the author of the new book, Mind in the Making but I wasn’t sure who the other was.  Some of the presentations at the conference can be pretty lively, colorful and interactive, so this one seemed like it was maybe going to be a little bland.  But, the title seemed interested so I found a chair.

The lady that spoke first told the story of how she entered early childhood education.  She had her first baby at 16.  She lived in New York and was on government assistance.  As her child grew into a toddler, she knew that she wanted him to attend a program–to get him involved in a community.  With tuitions more than she could afford, she decided to work at the school she wanted her son to go to, so she could make ends meet.  She talked about her struggles and her feeling about how important it was to give her son the experiences he had at the school.  She knew that early childhood education was important at that time in his life and also to his future.

After hearing her story, really connecting to it and feeling really incredible about doing what we do and like it really can impact the world, I didn’t anticipate what she would say next.  She told us that her son is Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.

She then went on to discuss Mind in the Making and her connection with the author of the book, Ellen Galinsky.  At that time, the book Mind in the Making had recently been published and Mind in the Making, the organization was in its very early stages.  Ellen went on to talk about the book and the seven essential life skills that she believes are necessary for success and fulfillment in life.

Both women then began to describe this movement they were trying to create with the book as the foundation.  They both believe that all people are capable of positively influencing children’s development.  They believe that all adults, from the parent to the preschool teacher to the pediatrician to the bus driver to the clerk at the grocery store, can do some very small things that will affect children in very big ways and contribute to their development.

As I listened I became so excited.  These small things that all people can do can actually change the world, if you think about it.  It may sound cliche, but it is so true.  The children are our future.  When you think about this, it seems imperative that we invest as much time and resources as possible into them.

Mind in the Making, the organization, aims to provide all people with information, small bits of information that make big a big impact on kids’ brains and overall development.

They have a wonderful website that distills the book’s information on the seven essential life skills.  There are also an abundance of resources on the website for parents, teachers and anyone who has a vested interest in our future–some include Prescriptions for Learning and Tip Sheets.  They have an app called Vroom, which allows you to plug in a child’s age and sends you short, digestible tips for every situation you can think of so that you can use these golden moments to help your child develop more neural connections.  They also partnered with an organization called First Book to develop 1 page lessons that pair with a book and help to really develop one of the particular seven essential life skills.  These sheets are all available for download and the books are all at the local library and available on Amazon (the connection is kind of funny, isn’t it!?).

With summer approaching, this is just some wonderful information that is available to everyone so that we can all learn and grow with the kids and help to make this world a better place, together.

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