Projects & Partnerships
What projects are Connections in Mind Foundation involved in?
Executive functions are brain-based cognitive skills that facilitate critical thinking and self-regulation. Executive functions call upon the prefrontal cortex of our brains to help with goal-setting and decision making. These skills include flexibility, focus, organisation, planning, self-awareness, self-control, time management, and working memory. Skills critical for success in the 21st century, but paradoxically not purposefully taught, fostered or developed in British schools.
At the Connections in Mind Foundation, we believe that this paradox leads to an unfair advantage for those who have a genetic or environmental predisposition to developing executive functions, indeed there is a significant amount of research proving a link between poverty and poor executive functioning and sadly criminal activity and later incarceration. We believe in equal opportunities, but also that, currently, our collective ignorance about executive functioning, and lack of action to help develop these essential cognitive skills for all children is specifically disadvantaging those from poorer backgrounds. This is something we are passionate about changing.
POLICY & wORKING GROUP
One of the key aims of the Connections in Mind Foundation (CiMF) is to influence policy and to increase awareness of Executive Functions (EFs) at a national level. As part of this strategy we have established a working group of psychologists, teachers and coaches who feel passionate about this mission. One of the goals of the working group is to increase the training teachers receive when they are qualifying with regard to what executive functions are, the relationship between executive function learning and mental health, and related neurodevelopmental conditions, such as ADHD.
As part of the CiMF mission to infulence policy, Co founder of Connections in Mind and trustee of the Connections in Mind Foundation, Dr Bettina Hohnen was invited in January 2018 to speak at an All Parliamentary group for ADHD organised by ADHD Action.
Dr Bettina Hohonen says “The Connections in Mind Foundation is devoted to helping all children flourish by increasing awareness of and intervention to develop executive function skills. While the foundation works hard on its mission, the seeds have already been planted that an executive function approach is an inexpensive, effective and accessible way in which we can support children both with and without ADHD, because at times we all struggle with our executive function skills. There is a lot of work to do, but the foundations have been laid, the motivation is there and the future looks bright. There can be no more excuses. This is not about money or a significant overhaul of our education system – it’s about the motivation to equip everyone in society with the knowledge needed to support all children.“
Read her blog about the conference here.
TALKS & RAISING THE AWARENESS OF EFs IN THE UK
CiMF are leading advocates in raising the awareness of executive function support in the UK. We frequently give talks around the UK. It is our aim to raise awareness amongst education leaders, policy makers and professionals about the importance of supporting young people to develop executive function skills. We also want to share the information with parents.
We have also partnered with Bell House in Dulwich for a series of talks promoting wellbeing in children and how to help them flourish. We have cohosted talks on raising teens in an online world, navigating the SEND legal framework and the neuroscience behind the teenage brain.
CiMF produce a series of podcasts, called Project Flourish, a project in which we believes that every child should be able to flourish. Each podcast will have a guest from the psychology or education field and they will shine some light on the projects which will help every child flourish! We currently have podcasts with Laurie Faith and Bettina Hohonen, with more due to be released imminently. More details on the podcasts, including how to listen to them, can be found on our News & Events page.
In 2017 Connections in Mind hosted an EF summit conference with over 100 professionals and thought leaders, and in 2018 we hosted an EF summit with Adele Diamond as the key note speaker. The CiMF will be looking at organising a similar event in the future.
More information is on our News & Events page. Please do subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on our social media to keep updated on upcoming events.
WORKING WITH LOCAL SCHOOLS
As part of our commitment to researching the most effective ways to develop executive functions our research team is working with local partner schools to evaluate interventions designed to develop executive functions in children from all backgrounds.
1:1 cOACHING VIA THE CiMF
Coaches working with the Connections in Mind Foundation are delivering 1:1 coaching sessions via the foundation. We work in partnership with other organisations to deliver these sessions to children and young people from diverse backgrounds that are receiving support form them.
Affordable parenting courses to help parents understand their children’s behaviour in terms of executive functioning, expand a shared language and encourage executive function skills development in children from all backgrounds.
As part of her Psychology PhD at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education Imogen Moore-Shelley is carrying out three evaluations of Activated Learning pilots with two primary schools and a secondary school. She evaluating what the impact is of Activated Learning on student’s application of executive function skills strategies in the classroom. Her research interests also include the implementation of executive function school based interventions and the factors that support the sustainable implementation of educational interventions.
in conjunction with the CiMF Lisa Carmody is completing research as part of a Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology at UCL. Lisa is looking at the effects of Activated Learning when delivered in small groups. She is particularly interested in the impact of Activated Learning on students’ executive function skills, use of learning strategies, and growth mindset.Teaching Assistants and Year 4 and 5 pupils from 10 primary schools in an Outer London borough are taking part.
More information you can contact Lisa here.
We are always interest to partner with other progressive organisations and share our knowledge and expertise.
None of this would be possible without the support of parents, schools and organisations who donate to fund our projects and partnerships which help students to flourish.
Please contact us if you are able to donate and support our future projects