Findings from the rapidly growing science of early childhood and brain development show that a father’s active participation and emotional engagement with his children leads to improved social, emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes. The research confirms that a father’s emotional engagement — not the amount of time fathers spend with children, rather how they interact with them — leads to multiple positive outcomes, and serves as a significant protective factor against high risk behaviors in both girls and boys. This holds true for resident and nonresident fathers alike. For example:

  • More frequent father engagement in their child’s literacy and education results in higher achievement levels in reading and math for the children.
  • Positive father engagement is associated with lower levels of impulsivity, higher ratings of self-control, and better stress tolerance.
  • Fathers who become involved in school settings early in their children’s lives are more likely to stay engaged longer.

At The Fatherhood Project at Massachusetts General Hospital, we believe that educators working with families in schools have an unprecedented opportunity to utilize these important findings and dispel the myth that fathers are somehow unimportant or unnecessary to raising healthy children. Our work with schools focuses on:

  1. Strengthening the essential emotional connection between fathers and their children in the early years by offering the opportunity to have fun together while learning and practicing lifelong relationship skills.
  2. Educating the parent community about the positive impact fathers have on child outcomes when they are actively involved in children’s lives at home and school.
  3. Empowering school and parent leaders to create a more father-inclusive school environment.
*The words ‘dad’ and ’father’ are meant to be inclusive of any adult primary or
significant caregiver, including but not limited to stepfathers, uncles, mentors, grandfathers, etc.

The Workshops


Offered in the morning (‘Breakfast With Dad’), evening, or Schools1in conjunction with another school event, such as ‘Bring Your Dad To School Day,’ a service learning project or an awards dinner.

Dialogues With Dad*, offered through The Fatherhood Project, focuses on strengthening the essential emotional connection between dads and their children in the early years. Led by John Badalament — Director of Programs for The Fatherhood Project at MGH, author of The Modern Dad’s Dilemma, and sought-after speaker — this interactive workshop experience gives fathers/father-figures and their children the opportunity to have fun together while learning and practicing lifelong relationship skills.

Highlights include:

  • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills introducing concepts of self-awareness, feelings, moods, and empathy while also giving fathers and children a common language for communication.
  • Information on early childhood development to help fathers understand the critical role they play in their child’s happiness, health, and well-being.
  • Takeaway brain-builder activities for dads to foster their child’s healthy brain development while doing everyday activities like playing, reading, doing chores.

Modern Dads: The Critical Role Men Play in Children’s Lives
John speaks to the wider parent community on this topic on the evening before, or morning of, the Dialogues With Dad workshop. This talk can be offered as ‘Just for Dads/Just for Moms.’ This powerful presentation for men and women provides a practical approach to addressing important issues facing modern fathers and families, including:

  • Creating a vision statement as a dad and a family.
  • How family and cultural legacies impact one’s parenting style.
  • Practical tools for connecting emotionally in your relationships.
  • Insights from research to apply to everyday parenting practices.
  • Taking a team approach to co-parenting on the same page.

*Children whose parents cannot make it for any reason are encouraged to attend
with an important adult in their lives (grandparent, family member, mentor, etc.)



Offered as a small group meeting for Parent Association Reps, Administrators/Faculty & Parents OR as a presentation for whole or select group of Faculty

The most common reason dads cite as to why they don’t get more involved in school life is simply: “Nobody asked.” In this workshop, participants will learn about the benefits and resources a fully engaged father community can provide any school. Highlights include:

  • Practical strategies to consistently engage fathers in your school.
  • Steps to start or enhance a Dads’ Group or PA Dads’ Committee at your school.
  • Addresses common hot-button issues such as, “What about students without fathers in their lives?” or “Shouldn’t we be focused on all parents, not just dads?”
  • Research highlights about fathers’ impact on children’s cognitive growth, social-emotional development, and academic achievement.

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