Editor’s Note: Jamie Hannon is the Assistant Principal of Fruitville Elementary School and a facilitator of Mind in the Making workshops — based on the ground-breaking book by Ellen Galinsky, Mind in the Making, The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs. In May of 2016, the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading held a Mind in the Making (MITM) Facilitator Institute for 27 individuals from 13 different agencies in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Since then, these facilitators have been presenting Mind in the Making’s Seven Essential Skills Training Modules to over 525 people throughout the Suncoast region. Due to demand, a second Mind in the Making Facilitator Institute was held in February of 2017, raising the number of local facilitators to 50.
As a first time facilitator for a Mind in the Making cohort, I did not know what to expect. We initially had difficulty finding participation, but once we switched the location to Fruitville Elementary, the course filled up quickly. We were so very fortunate to have a diverse group of educators, parents, and community members. The Mind in the Making Cohort is a facilitated learning opportunity that teaches adults how to help children develop the seven essential life skills: focus and self control, perspective taking, communication, making connections, critical thinking, taking on challenges, and self-directed engaged learning.
We discovered quickly that key to success with all of the modules of Mind in the Making is the discussion that occurs between the participants. As a facilitator, it is my job to listen to conversations and pose questions that are thought to provoke and continue to spark that discussion. As the weeks and modules progressed, participants became more comfortable with each other and began to understand each other’s background. Each participant valued the information we were sharing and saw how important it was for us to spread the word through our own avenues as educators, parents, and community members.
Along our journey, we became a community of learners. We all grew together, learned together, and will go forward to share the Mind in the Making message with others; two of our cohort members went on to become Mind in the Making facilitators.