Mary Watson
Director of Connected Beginnings Training Institute at UMASS Donahue Institute

Mary Watson Avery is the Director of Connected Beginnings Training Institute, a program of the UMass Donahue Institute. Mary’s career has focused on work with children birth to 8 years, building nurturing environments in family services, and early childhood practitioner professional development. Her special interests include the support of very young children at risk; the development of trauma-sensitive learning environments; effective parent engagement; coaching practices in early childhood settings; and the mentoring of early childhood trainers.

In addition to her many years as an early childhood educator, Mary has taught at Harvard University Graduate School of Education and Wheelock College. She also served as the Director of Family Connections, a community mental health outreach program targeting parental depression, based at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Mary earned a MS in Infant & Toddler Studies from Wheelock College with additional training in trauma-informed practices at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Mary also earned a BFA from Manhattanville College in Studio Art.