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April 24, 2017

The Pleasures of Mind in the Making

Editor’s Note: Cynthia A. Spence, Ed.D. recently completed the Mind In the Making Facilitator Institute. 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 375 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.

I have just completed co-facilitating my first series of Mind in the Making (MITM) workshops. There were several months between when I participated in the MITM facilitator training and actually taught the workshops.  Mary Kelly and I had the pleasure of presenting Galinsky’s (2010) The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs, to teachers and administrators at a Title 1 elementary school in Sarasota.

The research supporting the Seven Essential Life Skills is illuminated through fun activities that encourage the examination of these skills within our lives AND to learn simple strategies for building these skills within children. I was fortunate to work with Mary who has completed several MITM workshops. Her experience with grade school children engaged the participants, and her passion for artistic expression was apparent through her teachings as she brought the activities to life!

Using the principles of facilitated learning, we were encouraged to examine how each life skill is experienced within our lives and how we can teach them to children. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn with individuals committed to student achievement — demonstrated throughout the workshops. The school’s principle encouraged staff through his personal participation in the training and his insightful contributions to the discussions. The teachers shared their personal and professional knowledge and experiences in helping children and young people to grow socially, emotionally, and cognitively.

I look forward to facilitating more MITM workshops. I am proud to be a member of a “Pacesetting” community dedicated to igniting a thirst for learning and reducing education disparities among children. Thank you to The Patterson Foundation for supporting the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and our community’s collaborative efforts to improve early literacy and the futures of our children.

Cynthia A. Spence, Ed.D.
Organizational Leadership

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