Hearts and Minds on Babies

A Group Intervention Program for Early Childhood Educators

Hearts and Minds on Babies offers professional development training for teachers, and is currently being delivered and evaluated in Early Head Start classrooms at sites across Michigan. 

Our program is designed to support teachers as well as the teacher-child and teacher-parent relationship. To accomplish this, Hearts and Minds on Babies delivers an attachment-based curriculum that supports teachers in nurturing young children’s development, while also building social support and effective strategies for stress management for parents and teachers, as well as a useful framework for responding to common caregiving challenges. The program is currently undergoing a federally-funded collaborative multisite evaluation led by faculty from Wayne State University (Ann Stacks, PhD), Michigan State University (Claire Vallotton, PhD, and Holly Brophy-Herb, PhD) and the University of Michigan Zero to Thrive program (Maria Muzik, MD and Kate Rosenblum PhD). Results of our initial evaluation suggest that the professional development training strengthens teachers’ understanding of children’s emotional experiences, increases sensitive responding, and creates a common language for parents and teachers to communicate about young children’s experiences. 

Hearts and Minds on Babies Project Goals


Adapt & pilot Mom Power intervention for use in professional development for EHS teachers


Develop & pilot an integrated session that brings parents and teachers together


Test the effects of the integrated intervention on interactions and infant development

Targeted Outcomes

Caregiver mental health and reflective functioning

Emotionally supportive caregiver-child relationships

Child social-emotional development

Hearts and Minds on Babies Successes

  • Teachers who participated developed reflective skills
  • Parents who participated had a good experience
  • Parents who participated wanted groups to continue 

Hearts and Minds on Babies Training

The Hearts and Minds on Babies (HMB) is professional development training for Early Head Start teachers that is designed to support teachers as well as the teacher-child and teacher-parent relationship. We have two stages the HMB: one for teachers (HMB) and one for parents (HMB+P), as well as a corresponding curriculum for administrators and agency leadership. 

Stage 1: The HMB Training for teachers

Aims to:

  • Support teachers on helping infant/ toddler social- emotional development
  • Offer a unique framework for responding to common caregiving challenging situations
  • Help teachers to learn effective strategies for stress reduction techniques
  • Strengthen the connection with the children in their classroom and to share the joys of teaching
  • Help teachers feel supported and share their expertise with others


  • It is a 10- week program (7 group-meeting and 3 individual-meeting)
  • This group will take place during your scheduled PD time

Stage 2: The HMB+P Training for parents

Aims to:

  • Supports teachers in communicating the HMB concepts to parents
  • Strengthen child-parent relationships and teachers-parent relationships
  • Help parents to reduce parenting stress
  • Help parents to effectively balance discipline and affection
  • Provide parents with a new way of responding to challenging child behavior


  • It is a 4 group –meeting for teachers and 3 group-meeting for parents
  • This group will take place on a monthly basis
  • This group will take place during your scheduled PD time
  • Teachers from EHS help run the parent group when possible

How HMB training is unique and fun:

  • It is not a “lecture” format, but hands-on, activity-based, engaging learning
  • We attend to parallel process and promote positive interactions between teachers and co-facilitators, teachers and parents, and teachers, parents, and children
  • We offer and talk about practical ways of understanding and helping children with difficult feelings and behaviors
  • We introduce new concepts through video, activity, and discussion, and think together about how to apply these concepts in the classroom
  • Knowing that teaching is a demanding job, we attend to teacher self-care and introduce and practice strategies for reducing stress and taking care of ourselves