The Research Behind Radiant Beginnings

Our programming is evidence-based to meet the needs of social-emotional learning outcomes.


For three years we partnered with McMeen Elementary School and the Denver Afterschool Alliance (DAA) to assess the quality of our program.

The DAA’s Quality Counts program builds the capacity of afterschool providers to assess program quality and implement improvement plans designed to increase positive youth outcomes; more effectively collect and use data; and integrate social, emotional, and academic learning (SEAL) practices into their work.

We built a curriculum that focused on:

  • Program Quality
  • Social-Emotional Learning
  • Partnership Quality

We created three goals to ensure all classes encompass quality and consistency:

  1. Reflect – All lesson plans will include a meaningful reflection
  2. Manage Feelings – Youth will be able to express feelings, identify needs and then solve/respond appropriately
  3. Belonging – Youth will walk away from our program with a sense of belonging

All while breathing, moving, relaxing and most importantly, having fun!

We partnered with Kara Larson, OTD and Cherrelyn Elementary to provide our program to children in the Special Needs Program. The stated goal was to improve the disruptive behavior in the classroom.

Results indicated improvements across all three areas—sensory issues, self-regulation, and social interactions with the most significant difference being in the sub-category of self-regulation.

The data showed overall improvements in students’ ability to cope with changes in the schedule and a decrease in disruptive behaviors in the classroom.

Multiple research studies have indicated that mindfulness, connection, deep breathing and guided imagery are helpful to adults and children.


Evidence for the Impact of Mindfulness on Children and Young People by Katherine Weare, Emeritus Professor, Universities of Exeter and Southampton

Mindfulness for Children by David Gelles in The New York Times

Mindfulness in the Classroom: Learning from a School-based Mindfulness Intervention through the Boston Charter Research Collaborative by Gutierrez, Krachman, Scherer, West and Gabrieli


Why We Are Wired to Connect by Gareth Cook in Scientific American

Social Emotional Learning Program Boosts Early Social and Behavioral Skills in Low-Income Urban Children, PubMed Central (PMC)

On Feeling “Connected” by Bernard L. De Koven in Psychology Today

Connect to Thrive by Emma Seppälä Ph.D. in Psychology Today

Guided Imagery

Enhance Healing Through Guided Imagery by the Mayo Clinic in ScienceDaily

Guided Imagery: A Technique to Benefit Youth at Risk by Lisa M. Skeens, Ohio University

Evaluation of guided imagery as treatment for recurrent abdominal pain in children: a randomized controlled trial by Weydert, J.A., Shapiro, D.E., Acra, S.A. et al. BMC Pediatrics

Children’s Powerful Voices