The Prepared Adult Initiative (PAI) is a philanthropic effort seeking to

CREATE AN EXPONENTIAL INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF PREPARED ADULTS.

vision

To foster the development of as many prepared adults as possible – people with empathy, creativity and ability to face complex challenges.

priorities

PAI seeks to catalyze family awareness of how impactful a prepared home environment can be for childhood development.

We seek to learn and share with parents, educators, administrators, researchers, policy makers and children.

giving

We support interested families with research based guidance and resources. We also support organizations, and academic research through contributions and networking opportunities.

Latest News

Multigenerational Study of Head Start Efficacy

New study reveals significant intergenerational gains in social well-being

A recent study conducted by Andrew Barr and Chloe Gibbs, "Breaking the Cycle? Intergenerational Effects of an Anti-Poverty Program in Early Childhood" (published in the Journal of Political Economy), discusses recent findings related to the long-term, intergenerational impact of Head Start. Their findings indicate that individuals who were enrolled in Head Start programs experienced long-term gains in social well-being when compared with the social well-being of previous generations. This press release neatly summarizes the study.

Read the entire report (pre-publication version)

Denervaud in PsyPost

New neuroscience research is discussed

The article "Education shapes the structure of semantic memory and impacts creative thinking" by Dr. Solange Denervaud and colleagues (published in npj Science of Learning), discusses recent findings related to the impact that education has on how children represent concepts in semantic memory. Their findings suggest that "different educational experiences can affect higher cognitive functions, including creative thinking." This article has been highlighted and neatly summarized by the folks at PsyPost.

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Lillard Research Featured

Wellbeing findings discussed

The article in Psychology Today discusses the recent findings by Dr. Angeline S. Lillard and colleagues at the University of Virginia regarding associations between educational environments and adult wellbeing. The researchers' findings, communicated in a recent academic article titled "An Association Between Montessori Education in Childhood and Adult Wellbeing," asserts that attending a Montessori school as a child "might plausibly cause higher adult wellbeing." This article is discussed in more detail in a Psychology Today article.

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Funded Initiatives

Civic Science Center for Practical Innovation in Human Development

Dr. Phil Zelazo

Together with Ellen Galinsky, President of the Families and Work Institute, Professor Philip Zelazo, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota is designing a new initiative, called the Civic Science Center for Practical Innovation in Human Development. The Civic Science Center (CSC) will serve as an intellectual hub of innovation that coordinates research, policy, and practice for supporting the development of children’s executive function skills—attention, reflection, cognitive flexibility, working memory, and inhibitory control—as well as the life skills that depend on them and the environments that support them. The CSC will be comprised of a multi-disciplinary team and network of developmental scientists, educators, engineers, physicians, communication and dissemination specialists, policy makers, and families, youth, and community members who will work together to design, develop, and disseminate evidence-based transformative programs, products, and practices that can be used at scale to address targeted needs and populations across the United States and beyond.

Development of a Montessori Curriculum to Standards Alignment

National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS)

The Montessori curriculum, while broad and deep, represents a holistic and constructivist perspective rather than a standards-based model. Public Montessori schools need an alignment between their curriculum and state and national learning standards to 1) show in detail how the curriculum meets these standards, 2) guide lesson planning and 3) indicate areas where supplemental lessons may be needed to meet the required learning goals.

PAI supported the development of the NCMPS Montessori Curriculum to Standards Alignment (MCSA), a comprehensive (PreK3 - 6th grade) alignment between the Montessori curriculum and Common Core, Head Start Early Learning, Next Generation Science, and College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Social Studies Standards. The tool maintains the integrity of Montessori while supporting teachers in understanding how they are addressing the required standards. On a policy level, the MCSA demonstrates the completeness and validity of the Montessori curriculum.

Long-term hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity in school children as a function of educational setting

Dr. Angeline Lillard and Dr. Amanda Dettmer

Conventional school environments, with their emphasis on test performance, can be stressful, and excessive stress is contraindicated for positive development. Montessori, by contrast, de-emphasizes testing and competition, and capitalizes on natural learning, hence could be less stressful—although public Montessori schools still administer standardized State tests. To examine how stress levels vary across the school year, across school types, and across age, we will look at cortisol levels in hair samples of 240 children in 1st through 8th grade, half in public Montessori and half in conventional schools, in September, January, and May of the 2022-2023 school year. This study will be conducted at Elm City Montessori School (New Haven, Conn.), along with a comparison school in the nearby area.

The social dimension of creative thinking in schoolchildren

Dr. Solange Dénervaud

Solange graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) in bioengineering (SV). She completed a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV-UNIL), collaborating with the Center for Affective Sciences (CISA UNIGE), bridging Neuroscience and education. She is trained in Montessori education (AMI Elementary Diploma) and previously taught at the Ecole Montessori Vevey for four years. Initially, her research focused on the impact of the learning environment (i.e., Montessori versus traditional schooling systems) on the development of error monitoring in 5-13-year-old children. However, the findings broadened the research questions to creative thinking and flexibility across the lifespan, at the individual and social levels. Solange is now supported by the Prepared Adult Initiative for a project focusing on the social dimension of creative thinking in schoolchildren (peer-to-peer learning), to provide a better understanding on how to provide learning means to children that foster a healthy human development.

Families Empowered in Montessori Education

Dr. Ayize Sabater

AMI/USA's new Families Empowered in Montessori Education (FEME) project is designed to strengthen families, by using a combination of direct Montessori instruction to caregivers along with mental health service-delivery, group bonding and skill building sessions to bolster family strength and collaboration with schools. Not only are the Montessori instructional components important, but it is also vital to provide self-care counseling for families who have had to endure unprecedented stressors due to the pandemic. FEME's program outcomes are specifically designed to strengthen the capacity of families through a unique family instructional and group self-care model that includes some of the best early childhood practices which have demonstrated the ability to transform communities.

Understanding Early Educational Experiences of Adults with Demonstrated Entrepreneurial Tendencies

Dr. Angela Murray

Since educational environments can foster the type of mindset associated with entrepreneurial tendencies even in the early years, we propose a study to examine the early educational experiences of young adults with demonstrated entrepreneurial tendencies. We have designed a study of early career individuals who have pursued an entrepreneurial path to gather reflections on their earliest educational experiences. In this case we define these paths as business entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship and social entrepreneurship. While business entrepreneurs represent the conventional types of successful business creators, social entrepreneurs leverage an entrepreneurial mindset while making an impact in the arena of promoting the social good, and intrapreneurs innovate within the larger organizations in which they work. This project seeks to answer the question: What early educational experiences do successful business entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and social entrepreneurs reflect on as fostering their innovative life paths? Our overarching objective in answering this question is to understand how these experiences can offer insights to transform the field of education to better support development of these tendencies.

Curriculum Materials for the Montessori Teacher Residency

National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector (NCMPS)

Public Montessori schools struggle with staffing on two fronts. The first is finding a diverse pool of teaching candidates who have Montessori training. The second is preparing teachers to work in racially, culturally, linguistically, economically, and neurologically diverse public settings. NCMPS is addressing this challenge by building and growing Montessori Teacher Residencies. These school-embedded, equity-centered, immersive teacher preparation programs view the school as the locus of teacher formation, draw on teaching candidates from the school's own community, and focus specifically on preparing Residents to meet the demands of public schools.

PAI supported NCMPS' development of a full suite of teacher preparation materials, including albums and videos of the full Montessori curriculum for ages 3-12. With these learning materials, teacher residencies can grow across the country with a consistent, high-quality curriculum that centers equity and supports a broad diversity of Residents and public school students.

Unrestricted Gift

Montessori Partnerships for Georgia

Montessori Partnerships for Georgia works to expand access to quality, child-centered education through a network of public and community-based Montessori schools. We: (1) Engage parents and community leaders; (2) Ensure policies support Montessori; (3) Help start and strengthen publicly funded Montessori programs; (4) Support teachers and administrators with continuous improvement ; and (5) Reduce the cost barrier through our Montessori materials rescue program.

Executive Director, Annie Frazer, says: "An unrestricted gift from PAI has allowed us to accelerate our work in every area. These recent activities were made possible through PAI support: Expanding our materials rescue capacity through new space and staff; Hosting a much-needed teacher retreat; Planning outreach to additional communities."

Inaugural Science of Education Colloquium

Prepared Adult Initiative

On March 26, 2021, the Inaugural Science of Education Colloquium took place. This event, made possible by the Prepared Adult Initiative, brought together a panel of 18 international experts in childhood education and child development. The goal of the colloquium was to bring together these experts to share the current state of the art so that effective approaches to disseminate useful information to more parents could be developed.

This website includes information about each of the presenters as well as videos of each of the presentations.

Organizations We

Contact Us

PAI is interested in connecting with people and organizations to learn about exciting groups and projects to aid supporting parent and child development. PAI does not accept or consider unsolicited proposals.