The parent-infant dyad is the main relationship influencing a child's development. Parent-infant interventions help identify and treat problematic, high-risk relational dynamics in their earliest stages. MTA is currently developing a unique Institute for Parent-Child Relations that will combine three pillars: (i) innovative early intervention services, (ii) a developmental research center, and (iii) applied training for graduate behavioral science students. The three pillars feed on each other: by providing much-needed services to local communities, students gain valuable practical experience and contribute to the creation of applicable knowledge for the greater good.
The Institute for Parent-Child Relations will include the following three functions:
1 Accessible Preventative and Therapeutic Services and Guidance, including:
- Free services for families-in-need with toddlers and preschoolers (2-6 year olds).
- Services for parents and young children in families who have suffered trauma.
- Workshops for parents by the School of Behavioral Sciences faculty and institute's staff.
- A meeting place for parents and young children, designed as a developmentally stimulating environment and a familiar, welcoming space to foster community ties.
- A playroom that offers enjoyable and growth-supporting parent-child activities.
2 Developmental Research
Faculty and M.A. students at the new center will conduct developmental research as well as research on the short-and-long-term effectiveness of therapeutic child-parent intervention, in collaboration with a new lab for advanced developmental research currently established at MTA.
Equipped with the most advanced available systems, the lab will enable cutting-edge data collection and analysis methods, and technology-assisted teaching. These will include: video and audio recorders, monitors for sensitive physiological indicators (such as heartbeats, sweat, and eye movement), coders and transcription softwares, data transmission networks, and more.
3 Training for MTA Students and Certified Professionals
Fieldwork at the institute will complement the rigorous training for psychology MA students who specialize in early development and intervention, giving them an advantage in the job market. Under supervision and mentorship of the center's staff, graduate students will conduct a range of interventions, from house-visits to at-risk families, to parent-child treatments.
The new institute will make a singular contribution to the welfare of young families in Jaffa, by making integrative, wholesome parent-infant treatments accessible and inviting for the city's residents, furthering MTA's vision of academia in service of society, and drives forward its commitment to holistic community involvement with the residents of Jaffa, as it complements the College's many educational and therapeutic projects for children and youth in the city.