UW-Madison’s Chernicoff’s non-profit receives international education awards and recognition

It has been quite a year for AtentaMente, the Mexican non-profit organization for which Leandro Chernicoff, a doctoral student within the Department of Educational Psychology, is a founding partner and Academic & Research Director. AtentaMente specializes in social-emotional learning and education, empowering educators and other members of society to cultivate well-being via awareness, self-regulation, and connection through evidence-based, scalable, and sustainable programs.

Leandro Chernicoff
Leandro Chernicoff

Educating for Wellbeing (EW), the organization’s insignia education program, which Leandro co-authored, has been spotlighted by HundrED and the Lego Foundation as one of the 13 most innovative and impactful socio-emotional learning programs in the world. EW has also been recognized with the Future Learning Award by Falling Walls, a Germany-based foundation, and is shortlisted for the Science Breakthrough of the Year award, which celebrates impact-oriented ideas and discoveries. 

EW was also among the six projects that won the 2022 WISE Awards for their innovative approach to pressing education issues and positive social impact. This year, 488 projects applied or were nominated for the WISE Awards.

AtentaMente developed Educating for Wellbeing (EW) to transform learning environments and empower networks of adults to protect young children from adverse childhood experiences, help them develop healthily, and thrive.  In Mexico, where 50% of all children live in poverty and 11.8% in extreme poverty, the public school system has limited resources to provide members of the ecosystem with the conditions and support to foster the healthy development of young children, particularly those at greater risk. Yet EW focuses on building adult social and emotional competency (SEC), which promotes adult wellbeing and the capacity to model and enact healthy relationships in the classroom and school as a whole. This allows for adequate learning environments and student SEC. EW is a systemic approach to integrating SEL into all levels of early childhood education– leadership, educators, students, and families, and does so by combining: professional educator training in synchronous sessions and an online learning platform, an SEL curriculum for students, leadership training, and resources to engage parents. Motivated by the need to respond to the challenges of a changing world, Chernicoff and his team have adapted EW to be implemented remotely through Zoom-based synchronous sessions, an online learning platform, and a mobile app.