Teaching children to communicate and establish positive and rewarding relationships with others and helping create the kinds of teachers who inspire the next generation of thinkers and innovators are key goals for two programs the University of Central Florida will be sharing in the region this fall.

The University of Central Florida along with other universities nationwide made the announcement today as part of the newly formed Sanford Education Collaborative  a coordinated effort among participating schools of education to advance research-based programs that support PreK-12 student learning and development.

The Collaborative, led by San Diego-based National University through its Sanford Education Center, includes City University of Seattle, University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University, Nova Southeastern University, Long Island University, University of Maine, Touro College in New York and UCF.

The two programs that UCF and other collaborative members will be involved in advancing are called Sanford Harmony and Sanford Inspire, which were developed by Arizona State University and based on the vision of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

Harmony addresses the development of interpersonal and problem-solving skills that help students learn to cooperate, communicate and find empathy and common ground with others different from themselves. Inspire aims to identify and prepare teachers who encourage big dreams and big thinking.

The college will be sharing the two programs as part of their teacher preparation program and will also conduct research into how to best implement these programs in various settings.

The programs align with many of the best teaching practices and state standards, which the college teaches its students.

UCF education program is ranked in the top 100 according to U.S. News and World Report and recommends more teachers for credentials than any other university in Florida.

“We are thrilled to be participating in a national initiative that helps students develop essential interpersonal skills that can carry into adulthood,” said Grant Hayes, the interim dean at the UCF College of Education and Human Performance.