Podcast Dives Into Early Childhood Education Topics

January 17, 2018

Boston University School of Education's Power of Good podcast recently featured an interview with Mary Watson Avery, Director of The Connected Beginnings Training Institute at Wheelock College's Aspire Institute. In the wide-ranging interview, podcast host Jake Murray talked with Avery about the state of early childhood care and education in Massachusetts, the importance of reinforcing parent or teacher training with ongoing coaching, and how adults can best navigate confusing or difficult interactions with the children in their care.

Founded in 2007, Connected Beginnings at the Aspire Institute develops and coordinates training efforts to enhance the social and emotional well-being of young children within their families, their communities, and their early care and education settings. Early childhood educators, parents, caregivers, mental health clinicians, pediatricians, and all who participate in Connected Beginning training walk away with a greater understanding of this research and with key skills and strategies for supporting children's healthy development.

"What I'm really interested in is getting teachers to the point where they can just stay curious about a child," Avery said. "Where they are comfortable enough in their skill set that they won't panic when a child is confusing or challenging or is pushing their buttons."

Avery said every parent struggles with their child at some point. She said the goal of her trainers is "To help parents understand that any time you're trying to connect with your kid, to say 'I know we didn't have a good day today, but I still love you. You belong here. and tomorrow we'll try again.' That's never wasted time. That's building up the rapport with your kid that's going to help any other piece flow."

Kenann McKenzie-Thompson, Ph.D., Wheelock College Executive Director of Sponsored Programs and the Aspire Institute, said the podcast discussion directly reflected the overall mission of the Aspire Institute, which serves as Wheelock's innovation hub. "Programs that reach the community was the impetus for why Aspire was created," she said. "We will be highlighting more work being done in the community through Aspire's outreach at the upcoming February Forum and beyond."

On February 9, 2018, Aspire will host "Trauma & Resilience Forum: A Focus on Children and Families." The forum will explore topics including:

  • Trauma sensitivity in educational settings,
  • Supporting resilience in children and families,
  • Post-traumatic growth, and more!

Power of Good is a podcast series that highlights the work of people doing great things, caring things, often life-saving things for other people. These are the altruists, the optimists, and the social entrepreneurs among us—those helping others across backgrounds, politics, and geography in compassionate and creative ways.

Listen to the Full Podcast Interview

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