Author and Chief Science Officer, Bezos Family Foundation
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Ellen Galinsky is the chief science officer at the Bezos Family Foundation where she also serves as executive director of Mind in the Making. She remains president of Families and Work Institute. Her life’s work revolves identifying important societal questions as they emerge, conducting research to seek answers, and turning the findings into action. She strives to be ahead of the curve, to address compelling issues, and to provide rigorous data that can affect our lives. In the 1970s while on the faculty of Bank Street College, she researched and co-authored a book about exemplary child care, The New Extended Family: Day Care That Works, then used the lessons learned to help found the Family Center at Bank Street and then, in the decades that followed, to conduct a series of quantitative studies on the impact of interventions to improve the quality of child care and children’s development. In the 1980s, she studied how parents grow and change as adults and then wrote the now classic Six Stages of Parenthood. The findings from that initiative led to a series of studies on parent-professional relationships. These studies inspired her to work toward redefining parent engagement—away from a standard of professionals as experts and parents as the recipients of this professional expertise—toward building genuine partnerships where parents and professionals learn together. Seeing how important work-life issues are, she helped to establish the field of work-life in the 1980s and co-founded Families and Work Institute (FWI) in 1989, becoming its president in 1996. Since the 1990s, Ms. Galinsky has directed or co-directed the most comprehensive ongoing studies of the U.S. workforce and workplace. In December 2016, these two programs became a part of SHRM. In 2020-21, FWI is releasing six new reports based on the 2016 NSCW. In early 2000, Ellen Galinsky became concerned that far too many young people were dropping out of learning and she turned to investigating how to keep the fire for learning burning brightly in children’s eyes. The resulting research journey led to her best-selling book, Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs. In March 2016, Mind in the Making (MITM) became a program of the Bezos Family Foundation. Its mission is to promote Life Skills that are based on and promote Executive Functions. Projects include Learning Modules, now in 16 states and communities, in the Head Start system, and soon to be online; a library of videos; and Skill Building Opportunities—tip sheets that reframe discipline from managing “discipline problems” to giving children the skills they need to thrive. She also worked with Mt. Sinai Parenting Center to co-create Keystones of Development, an online curriculum that demonstrates how pediatric residents can promote brain development and strengthen parent-child relationships within routine well-child visits She is currently at work on a book about adolescence that extends the work of MITM into the adolescent years. Career highlight include writing more than 100 books and reports and over 300 articles, serving as a child care expert in the TV series What Every Baby Knows with Dr. T. Berry Brazelton; serving as a parent expert in the Mister Rogers Talks to Parents TV series; being the elected President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children; being elected as a member of National Academy of Human Resources; receiving a number of awards including the Distinguished Achievement Award from Vassar College; and speaking at five White House conferences on children and family issues. In 2017, Exchange magazine honored her as a Doyen in the early childhood field—a “special group of leaders held in high regard with a true place of respect as mentors to our generation.” In 2018, the Work and Family Researchers Network announced that the Ellen Galinsky Generative Researcher Award will be given on an ongoing basis to a work-family researcher or research team who have/has contributed “break-through thinking to the work-family field.” In addition, she was selected by her peers in the Work and Family Researcher Network as a 2018 Top Ten Extraordinary Contributor to Work and Family Research.
“[Mind in the Making] may well be the next iconic parenting manual, up there with Spock and Leach and Brazelton, one that parents turn to for reassurance that all is more or less okay, reminders of how to make it better and glimpses of what’s to come.” (New York Times) “A valuable resource! Ellen Galinsky’s extensive research reveals important insights into the science of early learning.” (Adele Faber, co-author of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk) “We need to get these important messages out, and parents are clamoring for it.” (T. Berry Brazelton, M. D., Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus Harvard Medical School and founder, Brazelton Touchpoints Center) “A readable and accessible volume enlivened by parents’ narratives about what works and what doesn’t. Galinsky’s everyday, playful, parent-child learning interactions offer a place to start...a valuable, worthwhile resource.” (Publishers Weekly) As a working parent, I was grateful for every new nugget of insight to help me assess my kids’ development and progress in school. I wish I had had “Mind in the Making,” a recent book by Ellen Galinsky that offers a gold mine of information. (Wall Street Journal) “[Ellen Galinsky’s] latest book, Mind in the Making just put her in the ‘Child Development Expert Hall of Fame.’ Mind in the Making is one of those rare and glorious books that will make a difference on our children’s lives and future.” (Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions) “Ellen Galinsky―already the go-to person on interaction between families and the workplace―draws on fresh research to explain what we OUGHT to be teaching our children. This is must-reading for everyone who cares about America’s fate in the 21st century.” (Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent for The PBS NewsHour) “Mind in the Making is the central component of a creative, multi-faceted initiative that clarifies paths to lifelong learning―related to discoveries about brain development and how learning builds on the structure and function of the brain. It is a valuable contribution based on solid research that yields practical benefits.” (David A. Hamburg, MD,Weill Cornell Medical College and President Emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation of New York) “Mind in the Making is a tour de force. In Galinsky’s hands, the latest scientific discoveries about how children learn are carefully molded into seven seemingly simple but profound skills that predict success in the 21st Century.” (Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Professor of Psychology, Temple University, and coauthor of A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool) “A book of incomparable quality about what is best for children and why in today’s world. Mind in the Making helps you assemble the ingredients in your own kitchen for rearing children who are intelligent, emotionally secure, and equipped to succeed.” (Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Professor of Education, Psychology and Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University of Delaware, and coauthor of A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool)
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