Advancing Early Childhood Education Policy in the U.S.
Lunchtime Seminar, September 22, 2016 (54:00 min)
Studies show that the early years are important for children's growth and development, school readiness, and later life. Yet, the United States still lacks a coordinated national policy. In this program, Robeson and Marshall presented the major issues facing young children and their families, discussed their research at local, state, and national levels, and made recommendations for families, educators, and policymakers interested in advancing early childhood education policy.
Wendy Wagner Robeson, Ed.D., is a senior research scientist on the Work, Families, & Children Team (WFCT) at WCW, where she studies child development, early child care, early education, and school readiness. WFCT is led by Nancy L. Marshall, Ed.D., a senior research scientist and associate director at WCW as well as an adjunct professor at Wellesley College.
The C.A.R.E. Program: Integrating Science into the Art of Therapy
Lunchtime Seminar May 19, 2016 (54:06 min)
There has been a long history of disconnection between the art of psychodynamic therapy work and the information being discovered in neuroscience research labs all around the world. This interactive lecture introduced attendees to the C.A.R.E. Program, a novel approach to healing mind, body, and relationships that integrates action and science to help people use their brains in building stronger, more rewarding relationships and healthier lives.
Amy Banks, M.D. is the Director of Advanced Training at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute (JBMTI) and author of Four Ways to Click: Rewrite Your Brain for Stronger, More Rewarding Relationships. Banks was the first person to bring Relational-Cultural Theory together with neuroscience and is the foremost expert in the combined field. In addition to her work at JBMTI, she is the creator of the C.A.R.E. Program, has a private practice in Lexington, and was an instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Who Do You Think You Are: Moving Beyond Words to Re-write Our Racial Narrative
Lunchtime Seminar May 12, 2016 (52:32 min.)
We are more alike than we are unalike – or so says the often quoted poem by Maya Angelou. Yet a substantial part of our cultural heritage is a racialized narrative that not only emphasizes our differences, but also ranks them as indicators of human worth. Such a narrative can only reproduce pervasive and chronic disconnection. In Maureen Walker’s presentation, “Who Do You Think You Are: Moving Beyond Words to Re-write Our Racial Narrative,” Maureen explored her own stories that reproduce that racial stratification. She then examined how disruptive empathy can enable us to re-write our personal narratives and contribute to a larger cultural imagination of human possibility.
Maureen Walker, Ph.D. is the Director of Program Development for the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute, and an associate director in the MBA program at Harvard Business School. She is also a licensed psychologist with an independent practice in psychotherapy, career coaching, as well as organizational and leadership consultation.
"We Talked About Sex," "No We Didn't:" Teen-Parent Match in Reports of Sexuality Communication
Jennifer Grossman, Ph.D., Prioty Sarwar
Lunchtime Seminar May 5, 2016 (31:49 min.)
For both teens and parents, talking about sex can be uncomfortable, but often teens and parents disagree about whether or not they have talked about sex at all. Do these disagreements point to differences in how teens experience these talks? In this presentation, Grossman and Sarwar explored this question using qualitative data from a racially and ethnically diverse sample of 29 seventh grade students and their parents to rate teen/parent agreement about whether they have discussed sexual topics like dating and protection methods. They then compared how teens with low, medium, and high agreement with their parents perceive these conversations, focusing on teens’ comfort in talking with their parents about sex, their opinions about their parents’ rules and guidelines for dating and sex, and their understanding of their parents’ perspectives on sexual issues.
Jennifer Grossman, Ph.D. is a research scientist at WCW focusing on adolescent development as it relates to sexual health and risk-taking, with an emphasis on family communication about sex and relationships as well as on racial and ethnic identity. She was the lead author for a recently published study on Get Real, Planned Parenthood’s comprehensive middle school sex education program, which was found to be effective in delaying sex for boys and girls. Grossman is currently the principal investigator on two grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development that investigate how teens and their families talk about sex and relationships. Prioty Sarwar, Wellesley College class of 2016, is a student research intern at WCW working for Dr. Grossman.
Dot and Ralfie - A Reading from a Novel in Progress
Amy Hoffman, M.F.A., Editor-in-Chief, Women's Review of Books
Lunchtime Seminar April 21, 2016 (25:26 min.)
In her April 21, 2016 lunchtime seminar, Amy Hoffman, M.F.A. read selections from her novel in progress Dot and Ralfie, which centers on a lesbian couple in their late sixties, who are facing some of the dilemmas of aging. When the book opens, Ralfie is recovering from a complicated knee replacement. Since her job requires strength and mobility – she works for the Department of Public Works – her knee problem threatens to force her into retirement. She and Dot may also have to consider moving, since they live in a third-floor walkup. They’re figuring out what these kinds of changes mean for their relationship to each other, to their families, and to their lesbian community.
Amy Hoffman, M.F.A. is editor-in-chief of the Women’s Review of Books (WRB), which is published by the Wellesley Centers for Women in collaboration with Old City Publishing in Philadelphia. She is a member of the creative nonfiction faculty at Pine Manor College's MFA program. A writer and community activist, she has been an editor at Gay Community News (GCN), South End Press, and the Unitarian Universalist World magazine. Hoffman is the author of three memoirs—Lies about My Family; An Army of Ex-Lovers: My Life at the Gay Community News; and Hospital Time.
Mind the Gap: The State of Child Welfare in Massachusetts
Joan Wallace-Benjamin, Ph.D., President and CEO of The Home for Little Wanderers
Lunchtime Seminar April 14, 2016 (33:41 min.)
“Mind the Gap” is a well-known cautionary phrase from the London Underground, but it also offers an excellent picture of our child welfare system. In Massachusetts and across the U.S., the child welfare system is doing just that – minding the gap – argues Joan Wallace-Benjamin, Ph.D. In the presentation, Wallace-Benjamin, President and CEO of The Home for Little Wanderers, discussed the work of the child welfare system in Massachusetts, how it has changed over the 13 years she has been at The Home, and what responsibility the taxpayers of Massachusetts bear for the system in place and the services it provides.
Joan Wallace-Benjamin is an alumna of Wellesley College and serves on the Council of Advisors for the Wellesley Centers for Women. As President and CEO for The Home for Little Wanderers, she has directed the organization to a place of prominence in the field of child and family service providers. The Home is a leader in innovative programming for underserved populations, providing vital services for every stage of child and family development.
Watch a Video about The Home for Little Wanderers
Health Care as a Community Good: Implications for Health Policy and Justice Theory
Lunchtime Seminar April 7, 2016 (28:54 min.)
To say that health care is a community benefit and not simply an individual or national benefit, is to acknowledge that communities are critical moral actors in determining just and fair health care, argues Charlene Galarneau, Ph.D., in her forthcoming book, Communities of Health Care Justice (Rutgers University Press, 2016). Communities – for example, communities of color, of women, queer communities, local communities, and professional communities – are involved in the social production of health, illness, and health/sick care. Achieving community justice in health care means respecting multiple and diverse understandings of health and health care within the context of inclusivity, whole person care, and effective voice. Notably, expressions of community justice, though fragile, do exist in current U.S. health policy.
Charlene A. Galarneau, Ph.D. is a member of the WCW Council of Advisors and Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College, where she has taught since 2005. Galarneau teaches courses in feminist bioethics, gender justice and health policy, women and health, global health, and U.S. public health. Her research focuses on the ethics of health and health care, and in particular, theories of justice related to gender, race, class, and other social structures.
Integrating Mindfulness into Social and Emotional Learning
Lunchtime Seminar March 31,2016 (39:32 min.)
“Mindfulness” has become an increasingly popular term, especially when it comes to education. But what is it, and what does it look like in the classroom? In the seminar, the presenters answered these questions, sharing findings from a pilot to integrate mindfulness practices into Open Circle’s social and emotional learning (SEL) professional development and curriculum. Through the pilot, 27 teachers participated in a four-day SEL training program that reviewed the definition of mindfulness, the rationale for incorporating it in education, and specific practices for educators and their students. The research findings presented showed the extent to which educators implemented these mindfulness practices, as well as its impact. The interactive presentation also included demonstration and instruction of a few mindfulness practices introduced through the pilot.
As Open Circle Co-Director, Nancy Mackay, B.A. brings years of experience as an elementary teacher and a passion for making a difference in children’s lives to her work. Before joining Open Circle, MacKay was principal owner of Baker-MacKay Associates – a training and consulting firm for non-profits. Jim Strouse, M.A. and Jen Dirga, M.S.W. are Program Managers at Open Circle. Both Strouse and Dirga bring years of experience in public schools and higher education to their work with Open Circle.