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May 30, 2018

My Mind in the Making

On Saturday, April 7th, the harp music on the alarm clock sounded, much louder than I had anticipated. I lurched over, hand extended, and shut it off. I took a moment to calm down, and as I laid there, I let my mind wander. Today was finally my turn to attend Mind in the Making (MITM).

For almost two years, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level reading (SCGLR) has been posting MITM blogs on their website, announced numerous cohorts online, created events on Facebook, shared information on Twitter, and wrote about it in the 0-5 Express and SCGLR newsletters. There was even a gathering held by the campaign for facilitators to reconnect and share their learnings. The concept was interesting, and I was eager for my own “ah-ha” moments. Consistent themes throughout the blogs were individual and group growth, and our cohort, Team Youthful, also experienced powerful transformations.

The morning of our first class, I realized this program is #ForAllAges. The youngest, children ages 5 and 6, joined us for breakfast, but then left with Rachel, an exceptionally well-qualified and playful childcare professional.  By the second class, Rachel got an “I love you from one of the kids and lots of hugs. The oldest, Barbara, a retired teacher in her 80’s with children and grandchildren of her own, shared her international teaching adventures. The rest of the group included parents, preschool teachers, childcare providers, and people like me who don’t have children but are life-long learners. All of us had the same goal of leveling up. Although we were attending for various reasons, the teaching approach applied to all of us.

Facilitators, Jenifer Johnson and Kathy Walker Van Citter, actively engaged us in discussion as they shined a light on each essential life skill:

  • Focus And Self Control
  • Perspective Taking
  • Communicating
  • Making Connections
  • Critical Thinking
  • Taking on Challenges
  • and Self-Directed, Engaged Learning

The last day, Jenifer and Kathy asked us to share our hopes and dreams for how we plan to incorporate the learnings into our future.  I shared this:

  • Mind in the Making has opened my awareness about the role of the brain’s executive functions and how learning them and putting the teachings into practice can be life changing at every age. I hope to be able to engage both children and adults on a level that encourages growth, openness, integrity, and honesty.

Others in the class shared their perspectives too:

  • I want to raise awareness of how being “present” to children can make the difference in whether they feel supported in life.
  • I plan to use these modules as a learning tool for my child. I think Mind in the Mind in the Making is great and can’t wait to read the book!
  • My hopes and dreams for this training are to better enable me to relate to children of all ages. To have a better connection with them, and to encourage “learning as a lifelong tool.” I have thoroughly enjoyed this class!
  • This program has been beneficial and interesting. I learned a great deal about myself and how I parent my children as well as teach the children in my class. I believe it’s something every parent and educator should know about.
  • My wish is that I will use the Mind in the Making principles to continue learning and growing. The outcome will be that I will be an example to the young people in my life. The obstacle will be time constraints.

The last participant explained her hopes for Mind in the Making in the form of a WOOP, a tool participants learned about in class to help them reach their goals.


At the end of the day, the only disappointment we all shared was that group time was over!

Each Mind in the Making workshop provides participants the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences and practices, learn what researchers have discovered about how children (and adults) learn best and discuss how to apply the knowledge. This program is an excellent way to improve communication, become a better role model, and demonstrate the essential life skills so children can be ready to learn.

Mind in the Making is made possible by the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading with funding provided by The Patterson Foundation.


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