The Heart-Mind Index Pilot: What's Next?

After an ambitious six-month timeline, the Heart-Mind Index (HMI) Pilot Project has reached the end of the pilot phase. It is, however, just the beginning of a bigger process of acting on what we have learned. During the pilot phase, we shared research and data on the Heart-Mind well-being of children in six communities.  We then tracked how this information impacted  and influenced decision making and actions at a local level.

Could the Heart-Mind Index:

  • Increase awareness about Heart-Mind well-being across pilot communities?
  • Increase conversations about Heart-Mind well-being within community groups?
  • Inspire and inform concrete action to improve Heart-Mind well-being within community groups?
     

A huge shout-out goes to the pilot community groups for being so open to learning alongside the Dalai Lama Center: Surrey, New Westminster, Port Alberni, Coquitlam, West Vancouver, HELP’s Aboriginal Steering Committee, and Vancouver. Overall, the response from each community reflects an enormous appetite for a focus on children's social and emotional development.

The Heart-Mind Index has proven to be a flexible tool that can be applied in a variety of ways within a local context depending on the participants involved and the community agenda.  It can be used to:

  • Validate and support strategies and activities that foster the 5 positive human qualities
  • Identify where to start in a community problem solving process
  • Better understand the context of larger, already identified social issues such as vulnerabilities indicated by the Early Development Instrument (EDI) in communication, social competence and/or emotional maturity
  • Examine the implications of social and demographic changes in a community
  • Measure large-scale change initiatives
  • Connect and clarify research and commonly held values about child development and desired child outcomes
  • Prioritize plans, goals and allocate fundinng
  • Support applications for funding
  • Build and strengthen partnerships across sectors including early learning and care, k-12 education, social services, and multiple levels of government - providing common language, understanding and goals
  • Educate leaders, professionals who work with children and parents about the social and emotional development of children
  • Advocate for children’s well-being at program and policy levels

By the end of the pilot project timeline, the journeys of each community, while distinctly driven by local needs and local relationships, held some commonalities that inform the recommendations for ongoing support and next steps related to widening the HMI distribution throughout the province.  The Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education is fully committed to championing both the concepts and the research behind Heart-Mind well-being.

DLC has learned  a great deal from the HMI Pilot Project.  Therefore,  next steps include work "behind the scenes" before proceeding with a broader launch of the HMI to other communities across BC. In the meantime, stay tuned for the Heart-Mind 2014 conference (May 8-10th) and the launch of the much-anticipated web-based resource:  Heart-Mind Online.

The HMI has been strongly embraced as a scaffold for more learning and a vehicle to actively engage all levels in communities to pay attention to the Heart-Mind well-being of children.

“I feel we are just getting going on the project.  We have done quite a bit and received so much positive interest and support but we still have many activities planned for the coming months.”  
- West Vancouver Pilot Project Participant

 

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