A newly formalized partnership between MGH Institute of Health Professions and neighboring Harvard-Kent Elementary School in Charlestown, Mass., is bringing value for students at both educational facilities. The initiative, which builds on a long-standing collaboration between the Institute’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Department and the school, now includes graduate students from nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and physician assistant studies.

According to Jason Gallagher, Principal at Harvard-Kent, this stronger association will leave a long-lasting, positive impact on his students. “It recognizes the importance of what the MGH Institute can do to help our students become better learners.”

Since it launched last spring, nearly 200 graduate students, faculty, and staff have taken part in a variety of activities at the school, starting with a community day of service and then spanning the areas of language and literacy, community health, mental health, and physical fitness. In the process, the graduate students develop strategies to balance classroom dynamics and navigate the day-to-day rewards and challenges of working with individuals from diverse backgrounds. In return, the young students benefit from enhanced learning and ongoing mentorship. Other activities include a mindfulness course led by an MGH Institute occupational therapy faculty member for Harvard-Kent teachers and pupils, as well as a summer literacy program.

“This partnership will help to break down the walls in communities by teaching the next generation of learners,” notes State Representative Dan Ryan, whose district includes Charlestown.

MGH Institute President Paula Milone-Nuzzo, PhD, agrees: “While we are excited about the ways we have collaborated to date, we know there is so much more these two great educational organizations can achieve together because we have similar missions. This is just the beginning.”