Workshops for Making Change

A traditional approach to change is to identify a problem and look immediately for a solution. When working with MDI data, this approach often leads to presentations that focus only on low or weak results. But the MDI was designed to uncover the strong, protective, and positive things in children’s lives that can build resilience and foster well-being, and to deepen those skills and expand those assets for all children.

We recommend taking an appreciative approach, shifting the focus from what’s wrong to recognizing the positive factors that already exist and the systems and relationships from which these positive factors emerge. Encouraging a vision for a future in which all children are thriving – a vision rich in detail – can ensure the focus remains on moving forward, not giving up. And thinking deeply about the places and times children do experience love, wonder, safety, and joy can stimulate new ideas to ensure environments support those feelings whenever possible.

The workshop materials below were created with this approach in mind, and encourage you to combine the quantitative data of MDI reports with a process of exploring your own local contexts and fostering collaborative relationships.

The first workshop, Exploring Data, will help you begin the conversation about the strengths, challenges and opportunities revealed by your local MDI data. The activities are designed to enable participants to move beyond the numbers and think deeply about the ways their schools and communities support healthy development in the middle years.

The second workshop, Developing Ideas, takes this richer picture and asks: “How can we move from knowing to doing?” The activities will help you form action teams to focus your efforts and choose your first steps to positively shift environments, relationships and skill-building opportunities for kids.

We’ve also created an Action Planning Workbook to help let your plans grow. Action teams can use this resource to start turning these great ideas into a more structured plan.

Workshop Resources