Mission, Vision, Values & Goals

Our Mission

The FocusedKids mission is to partner with schools, families, and community organizations to make healthy brains a priority for our children. We are instilling mindful self-regulation skills and brain-building techniques into daily routines to increase resilience, self-awareness, and academic potential.

Our Vision

To equip children and adults in their lives with the neurological wiring that promotes mental and physical well-being skills to last a lifetime.

Our Values

  • The path to health equity is achieved by supporting all ethnicities in building personal health and self-advocacy.
  • Offer a program that is available to anyone at little cost.

What We Do

FocusedKids believes everyone should know how their brains work - especially children. We teach kids (starting in preschool) about three parts of the brain using puppets to represent each part. The puppets are very engaging and feel safe, as are the activities and stories used to teach children what happens in their brains. This information becomes tangible, making it easier for them to decide what they can do with complicated feelings and behaviors. With this skill, their growth and potential are limitless. Even four-year-olds can do this!

The Problem

Statistically, 35% of children in the United States face at least one kind of adversity: social media, trauma, bullying, mental health issues, isolation, school shootings, and poverty. Ongoing stress from adversity impacts children by diminishing brain functioning, causing poor problem-solving, complicated relationships, and reduced learning ability. 

Our Goal

FocusedKids' goal is to create a strong foundation for children to develop social-emotional health by wiring their brains early in life. When they learn how their brain works, they can use that knowledge to their advantage in everyday situations, strengthening the wiring through repeated practice.

Equity

A commitment to making good trouble is essential for disrupting the status quo and achieving the excellent quality of life to which minority children and families have a right.  FocusedKids believes that all children have the right to equitable learning opportunities to achieve their full potential as engaged learners and valued members of society despite socioeconomic status, cognitive development, and cultural beliefs. Our part in advancing equity is to build equity in schools and other programs with a three-in-one social-emotional learning, mindfulness, and brain-awareness curriculum. It helps all children and the adults in their lives wire their brains for self-advocacy, enabling them to be proactive in creating the life they want.

Population Served

We serve children ages 0-10 and their parents and teachers, from families living below the poverty level to the upper class. Parent participants are 85% Latino and live below the poverty level. The Family, Friends, and Neighbors (informal caregivers) is 100% Latino and below the poverty level. Colorado school populations include:

The school populations include:

  • Multiple nationalities and income levels.
  • Approximately 60% Latino.
  • The balance is Caucasian and mixed.

Learning differences, cultural differences, developmental differences, and more all affect how children learn best. We use surveys to adapt our approach rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.

We consider depression, anxiety, executive function challenges, trauma, and stress. Different practices engage different learning styles through arts, games, music, technology, and more, for attention spans ranging from 30 seconds to 30 minutes.

Evaluation

During the pilot, a group from the Harvard Center for the Developing Child observed FocusedKids being implemented in a preschool classroom. They were impressed with the children's ability to self-regulate without disrupting the rest of the class. Our team was invited to participate in their project to develop a new evaluation model. 

To evaluate program success, we use Harvard's research model, the IDEAS (Inclusion, Diversity, and Excellence in Action) Impact Framework. Our team trained with Harvard to become immersed in this model and have been working with a member of their research team since then. Surveys and interviews are used as part of a fast cycle iteration model to understand whom the program works for and whom it does not, allowing us to adjust programming based on the feedback we get from participants.  The flexibility allows us to meet the needs of diverse populations.

Brief History

FocusedKids was founded by Kathy Hegberg, M.A., a child and family therapist who implemented the concepts now used in the program to empower kids to take charge of their problems by understanding how their brain works—and learning brain-building strategies.

FocusedKids began in 2013 as a pilot program at the Valley Settlement preschool in the Roaring Fork Valley in Colorado. Children at this school come from immigrant, Spanish-speaking families with parents who are often isolated, live in poverty, and have an average education of sixth-grade education. It was implemented to teach children about their brains, promote self-regulating strategies to increase school readiness, and practice healthy social-emotional skills.

When these children entered kindergarten, the teachers commented they were often more prepared with the skills necessary for a successful classroom experience. Specifically, they were better able to pay attention, navigate relationships, and correct disruptive behavior than their peers. With this success, FocusedKids is currently being implemented in schools, partner programs, and directly to families from Aspen To Parachute, Arizona, Mexico, and Sussex, England. Families and classrooms with children ages 0-10 benefit.