Healthy Boys Training

Presented by the MERGE Early Childhood Initiative

Developing Healthy Boys Training:
Raising Emotionally and Socially Connected Boys

A two-day training for early childhood educators and allied professionals

November 29 & 30, 2017   |   8:30am – 4:00pm   |   LaQuinta Inn & Suites, Springfield, MA

Sponsored by

At MERGE, we envision a future where the emotional and social development of boys – starting from an early age – is skillfully and compassionately supported by caregivers and educators.  As a result, boys thrive personally, socially and academically, and continue on this path to become men who are compassionate and accountable partners in safe and equitable families, work places and communities.

Training Audience: This pilot training will foster the development of gender-responsive knowledge, attitudes and practices in early childhood educators and allied professionals in: early childhood (age 0-5), school-age education (age 6-10), child care and family services, children's librarians, home visitation, and higher education programs that credential early childhood educators.

Curriculum Focus: Understanding and analyzing the roots of male gender socialization, exposing gender stereotypes, and teaching strategies which foster the development of emotionally and socially connected boys. This transformational training is experiential and dialogue based, including individual, small group and large group formats.

Our partners: In partnership with three leading early childhood agencies in Springfield, MA – Head Start, Square One and Preschool Enrichment Team – we have created a pilot program based on the specific needs of, and challenges facing, early childhood educators.

Learning outcomes: This transformational training is experiential and dialogue based, including individual, small group and large group formats.

  1. Participants are trained in gender responsive approach to child development, leading to improved teaching practice and engagement.
  2. Participants are trained in the Whole Book Approach to child literacy, in concert with the MERGE Children’s Book Campaign readings, resulting in strengthened dialogue and learning relationships and increased exposure to gender equity themes.
  3. Participants apply gender responsive practices in classrooms and with families resulting in enhanced social-emotional development.

All training participants will receive:

  1. Free copies of selected books from MERGE's Children's Book Campaign list
  2. Training Manual
  3. Breakfast and lunch each day
  4. A certificate for 10 training hours 


MERGE for Equality Senior Trainers James Arana and Steven Botkin, Ed.D. will facilitate various elements of the training. Learn more about them here.

Guest presenter:
Megan Dowd Lambert

We're proud to host a special workshop by author and children's literature expert, Megan Dowd Lambert. We'll learn about her Whole Book Approach to reading with children, and discover children's books as an excellent way for children and their caregivers to explore gender equity and positive masculinity topics together.

Megan earned her MA in Children's Literature at Simmons College, where she is now a Senior Lecturer in Children's Literature. She is the author of Reading Picture Books with Children: How to Shake Up Storytime and Get Kids Talking About What They See, which introduces the Whole Book Approach to storytime, a model developed in association with the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. In 2009 she was named a Literacy Champion by Mass Literacy, and she has served on the 2009 Geisel, 2011 Caldecott, and the 2012 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Committees.

Fee:  $290  ($250 if you register by 11/3/17)