Empowering Families

Bringing families into the educational process

Empowering Families, a joint initiative of the Providence Public School Department and Ready to Learn Providence, helps parents and other guardians become key players in the education of their children. At the heart of the program is Mind in the Making, a 16-hour course that covers the seven life skills every child needs to succeed in school – and in life.

What are the seven essential life skills every child needs? Click here to find out.

Unlike many family engagement initiatives, Empowering Families is creating opportunities for families and school professionals to learn together. The goal, says R2LP Director Leslie Gell, is to give all the adults in a child’s life an understanding of the skills he or she needs to succeed. These are the skills (often called executive function skills) that manage our emotions, intellect and behavior, such as focus and self-control.

DSC_0058Over a four-year period, we are offering Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs to more than 2,500 families, teachers and other school personnel (nurses, cafeteria employees, etc.) in the Providence schools, Pre-K to Grade 3. Our first contact with kindergarten families is at Providence’s Student Registration Center, where we’ve set up a small early learning nook during the kindergarten registration period in the winter.

In January 2018, the external evaluators — the Wellesley Centers for Women out of Wellesley College — released their findings for the first three years of the program. You can see the executive summary here.

The Mind in the Making Learning Modules were developed by Ellen Galinsky and her team at the Families and Work Institute after years of studying the skills that students who reach their potential possess. In 2016, Mind in the Making became a program of the Bezos Family Foundation. On March 12, 2016, Galinsky came to Ready to Learn Providence to talk with the staff responsible for delivering Mind in the Making to Providence. They told her about the profound impact the program has had on families, educators — and themselves. Galinsky captured their thoughts on this video.

We are grateful to all of the organizations that are making this important partnership with the Providence Public School Department possible: the US Department of Education, Investing in Innovation Fund; The Rhode Island Foundation; United Way of Rhode Island; the Anne E. Casey Foundation; The Campaign for Grade Level Reading; The A.M. Fund; The Bezos Family Foundation; and the Hasbro Children’s Fund.

For more information about Empowering Families, or to find out about upcoming classes in Mind in the Making, call Tania Quezada (fluent in English and Spanish) at (401) 490-9960.