New Directions Institute for Early Childhood Brain Development


Arizona's Children Association's program, New Directions Institute for Early Childhood Brain Development (NDI), was founded in 1998 to share important messages about brain development to help parents and caregivers take advantage of the critically important window of opportunity that occurs in early childhood. NDI provides science-based information of exactly how and why the earliest years (birth to five years) play such a critical role in future learning abilities and aims to inspire both leaders and the general population to make better choices for young children. NDI is an expert on early learning and consulted by organizations in Arizona and across the States.


Our staff conduct workshops in the community teaching caregivers how to promote healthy brain development. The workshops provide parents and caregivers with training tools to help infants, toddlers and preschoolers to develop a healthy brain and enter school ready to learn. Free workshops are offered around the state for parents and caregivers.

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About Jill Stamm, Ph.D.

Dr. Jill Stamm is the creator of New Directions Institute's products and curriculum and an emeritus clinical professor at Arizona State University. She is an author and a national and international keynote speaker on early brain development and the connection of healthy brain growth to later learning and school achievement. Dr. Stamm has appeared on numerous television segments, and she is frequently quoted in child development articles in The Arizona Republic.


Dr. Stamm’s book, Bright from the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind from Birth to Age 3, was featured in Parenting Magazine. Her expertise inspired her to create Brain Boxes®, a unique patented set of learning tools for interacting with young children in a way that encourages healthy brain development, and the Baby Brain Box®, a product for birth to one year olds.


As a member of the National Advisory Board of the Learning and Brain®, Dr. Stamm frequently presents at their educational conferences. She has served on the Governor’s Advisory Council for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education (STEM) and on the Advisory Board for the Arizona Science Center's exhibit on the brain.


Dr. Stamm has two adult daughters. Kristin is a Ph.D. neuroscientist. Jenny was born prematurely with physical and developmental disabilities but has flourished with her mother’s understanding of her unique brain functioning.



Workshop Schedule

Brain Time©
Brain Time© is a fun, interactive setting where parent/caregiver and child learn together. This workshop is taught in three sessions and follows a basic library-style ‘story time’ format, but includes one-on-one time for the parent/caregiver and child to work and play together. Brain Time© utilizes New Directions’ patented Brain Box® learning system. This program is a offered in three age groups: birth-18 months, 19 months-3 years and 3-5 years.

Wired for Success®
Wired for Success® is a one, four hour session for parents and caregivers that provides important information about how a young child’s brain ‘wires up’ as well as practical methods for stimulating healthy early brain development for later success in school. This workshop addresses developments in neuroscience and utilizes New Directions’ S.T.E.P.S.® to Early Brain Development curriculum.

S.T.E.P.S.® Plus
S.T.E.P.S.® Plus is a 10-session series that will help parents and caregivers learn effective ways to prepare birth to 5-year-old children for future success. Each workshop includes adult discussion time to find out what really matters for healthy brain development as well as time to learn techniques that will help a child’s development. Each attendee leaves every session with materials to keep at home.

Kinder Prep© A & B
Kinder Prep A & B pre-literacy workshops focus on the skills needed for entrance into kindergarten in language and literacy; social competence and social-emotional growth; and pre-math literacy. These sessions are interactive for parent/child together. This program provides practice in developing skills while focusing on inexpensive, at-home activities known to encourage brain development. Both series are three sessions each and do not need to be attended consecutively.

Kinder Ready
Kinder Ready pre-literacy is a four session program that provides instruction similar to Kinder Prep but focuses on teaching adults who can then work with their children. Participants learn the latest information and techniques to ‘wire up’ a child’s brain for a successful future in kindergarten. The workshops provide practical ways to prepare children for pre-reading, social competence and pre-math skills. Information and techniques are demonstrated in ways that are easy to grasp, using interactive experiences and providing at-home activities to reinforce main concepts.

Understanding the Teen Brain
Understanding the Teen Brain is a three hour session designed for those individuals who interact with teenagers or with teen parents. This workshop focuses on the scientific overview of the ‘second opportunity to influence brain development,’ the first being the early development of a child’s brain and the second being the later brain reorganization in the teen years. Participants will explore characteristics known to influence normal, healthy teen brain development and learn the vulnerabilities and opportunities associated with this period of human development. The workshop includes lecture, video clips and hands-on experience.

1,2,3,4 Parents!™
1,2,3,4 Parents!™ is an evidence-based program taught in a series of three sessions. This unique program utilizes a multicultural, video-based and discussion centered approach for parents and caregivers of children ages birth to five years. 1,2,3,4 Parents! provides four things every parent and caregiver really needs: information, skills, support, a break from parenting and time for some fun!

Topics include: 

  • Ages and Stages of Development 
  • How to Use Positive Discipline Skills 
  • The Power of Encouragement 
  • Caring for the Caregiver


Raising a Reader
Raising a Reader (RAR) is an evidence-based program with an established history of success in pre-literacy. Studies of individual families show that what the family does is more important to student success than family income or education. This program provides instruction on how to develop a ‘reading habit’ in the home, and the techniques that lead to a desire to interact with books in ways that cause language development and pre-literacy skills to flourish.

RAR offers: 

  • 3 workshops for parents 
  • To practice the habit of sharing books, children participate in a book exchange where award-winning books are rotated weekly 
  • Free books and a Raising a Reader library bag upon completion of the program

Program goals: 

  • To improve the reading readiness of children from birth to third grade 
  • To promote parents’ use of effective book sharing practices 
  • To promote family literacy habits


Nurturing Parenting™
Nurturing Parenting™ is a an evidence-based, 10-session program with a focus on parents and caregivers of children birth to five. Workshops include discussion and parent activities, with parent-child interactive opportunities provided.

Learn how to: 

  • Foster positive parenting skills and also care for yourself 
  • Build your child’s self-worth 
  • Promote positive brain development 
  • Effectively discipline your young child 
  • Help your child get ready for school


Common Sense Parenting®
Common Sense Parenting® is an evidence-based program for parents and caregivers. This workshop is taught in six sessions or in two successive full-day Saturday sessions. A focus of each workshop includes parent-child interactive activities. Each session consists of five components: instruction, modeling, practice, feedback and review. Parents learn alternatives to problem behaviors and participate in many role-play situations to begin to practice new, preventive parenting behaviors.

Topics include: 

  • Child Development, Understanding Reasonable Expectations, and Consequences 
  • Giving Reasons and Effective Praise 
  • Social Skills, Preventive Teaching, Child’s Calm Down Kit 
  • Time-Out, Corrective Teaching 
  • Staying Calm Plan, Teaching Self-Control 
  • Parenting Plans, Family Traditions  


Please call for pricing, as some workshops have a fee.

Public Impact

Neuroscientists from the finest research facilities in the United States are solving mysteries of language, mental processes and behavior by observing the brain at work and adding to the existing body of psychological research on early development. New imaging technologies allow researchers to finally ‘look inside the brain’ while it is at work and actually see how the brain processes information. 

Studies show that the human capacity to develop and change is greatest from birth to five years old when the brain is most malleable and able to change in response to education and stimulation. However, public investment in education is lowest in early childhood, creating a mismatch between the investments made and the opportunity for improvement. As a result, there is a demand for expensive remedial programs to address learning and behavior problems in later years when change is far more difficult to achieve.

Advances in neuroscience and in understanding human development have made it possible to suggest strategies that can promote healthy brain development. Public policy makers, business and community leaders, caregivers and others can apply this knowledge to a broad range of programs and services for children. Implementing simple strategies so that children become successful early learners eliminates the need for expensive downstream remediation.



Main Office: 711 E. Missouri Ave, Suite 300, Phoenix, AZ 85014
Phone: 602.371.1366
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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