Educating for Wellbeing

About the Project

This project is one of the 2022 WISE Awards finalists.

 

Context and Issue 

Children below the age of five living in poverty are vulnerable to a cumulative burden of adverse childhood experiences, such as abuse, violence, and mental illness, and often lack the personal and social resources to overcome these. Without caring and protective adult relationships to buffer them, the pileup of demands exposes them to toxic stress, harming their brain and cognitive development, hindering later academic achievement and putting them at risk for the poorest health, learning, and behavior outcomes in the future. In Mexico, where 50% of all children live in poverty, and 11.8% in extreme poverty, the public school system has limited resources to provide members of the ecosystem the conditions and support to foster the healthy development of young children, particularly those at greater risk.

 

Solution and Impact

AtentaMente developed Educating for Wellbeing (EW) to transform learning environments and empower networks of adults to protect young children from adverse childhood experiences, help them develop healthily and thrive. We do this mainly by focusing on adult social and emotional competency (SEC) development, which promotes adult wellbeing and the capacity to model and enact healthy relationships and build caring and protective environments in the classroom and school as a whole. This allows for adequate learning environments and student SEC. EW is a systemic approach to integrate SEL into all levels of early childhood education– leadership, educators, students, and families, and does so by combining: professional educator training in synchronous sessions and an online learning platform, an SEL curriculum for students, leadership training, and resources to engage parents. Motivated by the need to respond to the challenges of a changing world, AtentaMente has adapted EW to be implemented remotely, through Zoom-based synchronous sessions, an online learning platform and a mobile app.

 

Future Developments 

EW is currently being implemented with Ministries of Education in 6 states throughout Mexico reaching over 12,500 preschool principals, teachers, and educational authorities and has indirectly impacted over 300,000 students nationwide. Impact evaluations of EW have shown positive results for educator outcomes, the most notable including a decrease in educator burnout and improvements in perceived well being, self regulation and prosocial skills and behavior. In addition, participants reported improved learning and behavioral improvements among students.

The expected outcomes of this systemic intervention include a change in school culture and all relationships within the education system so schools can become caring and protective environments and effectively integrate SEL as an integral goal for education, building a strong basis for academic success, life satisfaction and a sound and healthy society and citizenship. We believe we can change the world by changing ourselves and our relationships, one by one and together.

In the next five years, AtentaMente seeks to: i) expand EW, such that both its professional development and student curriculum components, cater to the needs of students aged 0-18; ii) adapt the Holistic Wellbeing Program, AtentaMente’s 12-week hybrid program (Zoom and mobile app) to cater to at-need populations such as the police, social workers, teens and parents, to name a few; iii) expand the reach of its programs to at least 3 additional countries in the LAC region and Spanish-speaking populations in at least 1 country outside the region, iv) build evidence for public policies in education and other health and social domains that support preventive mental health, social emotional development and emotional wellbeing.

May 23, 2022 (last update 05-25-2022)