Beyond Poverty: Brain-Inspired Ways to Understand and Respond to Poverty

Workshop Summary

Poverty has a synergistic and pervasive negative impact on children’s brains. Given the many developmental windows occurring in childhood, poverty often wreaks havoc on the brain’s ability to grow and function optimally. In this workshop, participants will learn the specific impact of poverty on the developing brain, the outcomes of that damage in the classroom and the community, and the interventions that can be used to overcome poverty’s effects. Specific, research-based strategies for combating the negative impact of poverty on learning will be introduced for infants, pre-school and school-aged children.

Exciting discoveries in neuroscience have revealed that the brain is a dynamic and changing organ — particularly in childhood. Known as “neuroplasticity,” the brain’s ability to change and grow through exposure to environmental stimulus offers exciting new approaches and strategies for educators, parents and child-serving professionals working with children of poverty. The impoverished brain can be changed significantly for the better and these techniques provide you with the tools to begin transforming young minds. These interventions are categorized into learning improvement and emotional/behavioral improvement. The learning improvement category describes the enrichment model, a practical, low cost, integrated structure for remediating and accelerating acquisition, retention, and application of information in the impoverished brain.  Consisting of eight (8) fundamental practices, the enrichment model provides a coherent, sensible and “doable” method for counteracting poverty influences on learning.  The emotional/ behavioral category, likewise, provides techniques that are practical, meaningful, and effective; these techniques are organized into seven (7) strategies that powerfully impact the emotional (and, consequently, behavioral) health of the brains of children and youth from poverty.

Workshop Objectives

  1. To share with participants recent discoveries from neuroscience about the impact of poverty on the anatomical, functional and behavioral development of young brains.
  2. To empower participants with “take home” tools for overcoming the synergistic, negative impact of poverty on the developing brain.
  3. To equip child advocates and organizational leaders with a practical, affordable approach for combating the long-term effects of poverty on the youth they serve.

Testimonials

"I gained very real reasons of how and why poverty affects people and why i need to remember this in my job." 
—Participant, Titusville Regional Literacy Council

 "This was a well rounded training. It flowed nicely and provided a lot of good knowledge as well as ideas to help children function in a more healthy manner.
Participant, Titusville Regional Literacy Council

"This presentation was appropriate for all grade levels. It was very informative and it provided great ideas for parent involvement. Poverty and the brain are related!"
Participant, Titusville Regional Literacy Council

"It helped me understand how the brain develops and why some behaviors occur and how we can work on these issues with students.."  
Participant, Titusville Regional Literacy Council