Ellen Galinsky and First Book Team Up to Help Kids in Need
Books and blogs abound with advice for raising children, little of it based in research and evidence. But Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute and a renowned expert in the field of work-family life and child development, has spent the past 13 years investigating the research on children's learning across academic disciplines, including neuroscience, cognitive science, child development studies; as well as studies on the development of content knowledge everything from literacy to STEM reviewing more than 1,000 studies and conducting in-depth interviews with close to 100 leading researchers.
The result of this investigation is Mind in the Making, a book as well as training and other materials that describe seven critical skills that children need to develop and how adults can promote them.
Working with First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books and educational materials to children in need, Galinsky and the Mind in the Making team at Families and Work Institute compiled an unprecedented collection of children's books that teach how to promote the seven essential life skills.
The initiative includes a series of tip sheets compiled by the Institute as companion pieces to this collection of children's books. Educators and families can use the books and the tips sheets to promote life skills based on executive functions of the brain, such as focus and self control, as they read along with kids.
For example, Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats, provides many life skills learning opportunities:
You can ask your child: "What did Peter do to learn how to whistle?" When your child retells parts of the story, he or she is developing Focus and Self Control by paying attention and remembering.
"These skills are called executive function skills," Galinsky says, "because we use them to manage our attention, our emotions, and our behavior in order to achieve our goals. When we promote them, we help children learn how to learn. I honestly don't believe we will be able to address the problems we have in education todaysuch as the achievement and opportunity gap, without also promoting these skills."
Not only will the books and support materials be available to the classrooms and programs in First Book's national network, over $125,000 has been set aside in matching grants to ensure that more of the books are placed into the hands of children who need them most.
"Children from low-income families rarely have access to the same resources and advantages as other children," said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "Thanks to Ellen's work, we're bringing the absolute best in educational opportunity to tens of thousands of children in need."