FocusedKids™ is a program created by Kathy Hegberg, M.A., in 2013. Piloted in all the programs offered by Valley Settlement, we teach children ages 0-4, parents, teachers, and caregivers about the developing brain using a brain chart and puppets. They learn how it works, and, using mindfulness exercises, how to manage emotions so they can focus “in the present.” Parents, and teachers learn how to facilitate healthy development of the young brain in children from birth to four years-old.
This is a program steeped in the work by Susan Kaiser Greenland on mindfulness with children, and Goldie Hawn’s program, MindUP, teaching children about their brain. It also reflects Daniel Goleman’s work in his books Emotional Intelligence and Focus, Adele Diamond’s work on the developing brain, Dan Siegel’s books Whole Brain Child, and No Drama Discipline, and finally, the brilliant work at the Momentous Institute in Dallas TX. Evidence-based research about mindfulness programs, particularly those based in neuroscience, in schools and homes suggests that the benefits include: improved self-management, stronger ability to pay attention, calmer, less reactive behaviors in the face of difficulties, improved relationships, and better academic performance. We are working to develop an outcome measure so that we can track impacts to our participants.