Proceedings of Past School Readiness Symposia
- Thank you to all of our sponsors, speakers and attendees who took part in the December 11, 2019 School Readiness Symposium at Turf Valley Conference Center. Over 350 guests were in attendance as Junlei Li, Ph.D., Saul Zentz Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education and Dana Winters, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Child & Family Studies and Director of Simple Interactions & Academic Programs, Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media at Saint Vincent College delivered the keynote address on "Looking for Helpers, Finding Hope." After a lunch time presentation by Steven Hicks, Assistant State Superintendent, Division of Early Childhood at the Maryland State Department of Education, participants had their choice of afternoon workshops.
- Over 180 people attended Ready At Five's School Readiness Symposium on April 12, 2019 at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport Hotel. Dr. Marina Umaschi Bers, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study & Human Development at Tufts University gave the Keynote address Coding as a Developmental Playground: Computational Thinking and Robotics. Please click here to view Dr. Bers's presentation. Following a buffet lunch, guests had their choice of five different workshops.
- Partnering with Families to Maximize Early Childhood Experiences - Cara Bethke, Sense of Wonder Early Childhood Consultants, LLC Handout One, Handout Two, Handout Three
- Coding in the Prekindergarten Classroom - Gary Lyst, Weller Raod Elementary School and Kelly Olewack, Wheaton Woods Elementary School
- Public Media Partnerships and Early Childhood Development - Sonja Latimore, WGBH and Krista Respass, Maryland Public Television
- 293 people attended Ready At Five's School Readiness Symposium on December 5, 2018 at Turf Valley Conference Center. Dr. Douglas Clements, Ph.D., the Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and Professor at the University of Denver delivered the keynote address The Surprising Importance of Early Math. Please click here to view Dr. Clements's presentation. Following a buffet lunch, guests enjoyed a presentation on the Kirwan Commission Report and the Preschool Development Grant from Steven Hicks, Assistant State Superintendent, Division of Early Childhood, at the Maryland State Department of Education. Participants had their choice of five different workshops in the afternoon.
- Workshop - Playing - The Math Path - Patty Stine, Pure Play Every Day, Inc. - Lesson Plan, Notes, Worksheet
- Workshop - How Children's Early Math Skills are Connected to Perceptions of Quantity and Grounded in Space - Justin Bonny, Ph.D., Morgan State University
- 350 people attended Ready At Five's School Readiness Symposium on May 17, 2018 at the BWI Airport Marriott. Supporting the Whole Child: Social and Emotional Learning featured Dr. Stephanie Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education. Please click here to view Dr. Jones's keynote presentation and here to view her workshop presentation. Participants enjoyed a lunchtime presentation on PreK to Grade Two - Prohibition of Suspension and Expulsion Information and Guidance by Michael Muempfer, Lead Specialist Student Behavior and School Climate at MD State Department of Education, followed by a choice of afternoon workshops.
- Workshop - Early Childhood Mental Health: How to Promote Social Emotional Well-being and Access Services
- Workshop - Working with Children with Challenging Behaviors
- Over 330 people attended Ready At Five's 40th School Readiness Symposium On December 14, 2017 at Turf Valley Conference Center. Equity in Literacy Must Start Early featured Dr. Nell K. Duke, Professor of Literacy, Language, and Culture in the Department of Educational Studies at the University of Michigan. Please visit Dr. Duke's website at http://umich.edu/~nkduke/ for more information. Participants enjoyed morning and afternoon breakout sessions and a lunchtime presentation on Goslings: Early Language and Literacy for Infants Born Prematurely.
- Video Highlights
- Breakout Session A - Developing Literacy in the Infant and Toddler Years
- Breakout Session B - What is a Learning Party?
- Breakout Session C - Tap, Click, Read: Early Literacy in a World of Screens
- Breakout Session D - Small and Mighty: Multilingual Children Blooming in Language and Literacy
- Breakout Session E - Building Bridgesin Early Literacy and Language Development for ALL Learners
- Breakout Session F - Baltimore Learns Every Day! It's Not Just a Game... It's a Movement
- Breakout Session G - Using Technology to Engage Families - Panel Discussion (Ready4K, ReadyRosie, Vroom)
- 240 people attended Ready At Five's April 2017 School Readiness Symposium "Building Equity in Early Learning" featuring Dr. Walter S. Gilliam, Ph.D., Director of the Yale Child Study Center. Please click here to view Dr. Gilliam's keynote presentation and here to view the continued presentation. Guests enjoyed a Lunch Plenary on Embracing Equity from Angelique Kedem of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, followed by a choice of four different afternoon workshops.
- Video Highlights
- Workshop Video Highlights
- Workshop A - Diversity, Equity and CLC: Tools to Grow Your Capacity to Support Young English Learners and their Families
- Workshop B - Supporting Access and Inclusive Participation for ALL Children
- Workshop C - New Stressors Affecting Immigrant and Refugee Children and Families in the Trump Era
- Workshop D - Embracing Family Diversity
- Over 235 participants attended Ready At Five's December 2016 School Readiness Symposium "Ready, Set, STEM!" featuring Heidi Schweingruber, PhD., Director, Board on Science Education The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Michael Eisenklam and Bryan Shumaker of Carroll County Public Schools "Modeled the STEM Standards of Practice" with a hands on activity. The day concluded with two sets of fabulous concurrent workshops and a Gallery Walk featuring 17 different participants who shared their STEM ideas. Please click here for Dr. Schweingruber's handout and click here for her entire presentation. To view Michael Eisenklam and Bryan Shumaker's presentation on "Modeling the STEM Standards of Practice" please click here. Presentations from the afternoon workshops can be found here:
- 180 people attended Ready At Five's May 2016 School Readiness Symposium - Emotional Intelligence: From Theory to Practice featuring Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.
for Dr. Brackett's presentation. Handouts from the afternoon workshops may be found here:
- RA5 Symposium May 2016 Social Foundations Presentation
- Strengthening Parenting Skills for Improving Young Childrens Social Behavior
- Early Childhood Mental Health
- Innovative Stories of Family Engagement From Around the World News & Announcements HFRP News HFRP Harvard Family Research Project
- 289 people attended Ready At Five's December 2015 School Readiness Symposium - Collaboration in Action: Supporting Dual Language Learners and their Families featuring Margie McHugh, Director of the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy Migration Policy Institute with Erin Arango-Escalante, Director of Early Years and Tricia Blanco, Early Years Program Manager at WIDA - University of Wisconsin-Madison. Please click on the following links to view some materials that were presented at the Symposium. Collaboration_in_Action_Program2.pdf McHugh_MD_ReadyatFive_12_02_15_Final.pptx Synposis_of_MSDE_2012_Report.pdf and a link to a relevant article What Parents Have To Teach Us About Their Dual Language Children by Sara Michael-Luna, PhD.
Akua Kouyate-Tate, Senior Director, Wolf Trap Education, was the keynote speaker at Ready At Five's May 2015 School Readiness Symposium - The Arts Work in Early Childhood. Ms. Kouyate-Tate has led program development and implementation for major Wolf Trap Education initiatives including the Wolf Trap Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts, a multi-year initiative funded through a $1.15 million grant under the U.S. Department of Education Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant Program. Kouyate holds a Master of Arts Degree in Art Management and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Performing Arts: Dance from American University, and is a recipient of a Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Award. Prior to the keynote presentation "Discover the Power of the Performing Arts in Early Childhood," participants had their choice of four different workshops presented by the BSO, Lenore Blank Kelner & Co., Young Audiences/Maryland Wolf Trap, and Andrea McCluskey from The Lucy School. A presentation on how to "Access Wolf Trap Institute's Arts Integrated Lessons Anytime with the New Online Learning Tool" and a buffet lunch followed. Following the keynote, the Wolf Trap Jazz Trio performed a "Journey Through Jazz" to end out the day. Please click the following links to view the materials that were presented at the Symposium. Symposium Program, Keynote Presentation, Journey Through Jazz, Wolf Trap Online Learning Tool.
- Ellen Galinsky, President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute was the keynote speaker at Ready At Five's December 2014 School Readiness Symposium - Mind in the Making: Executive Function in Action. Ms. Galinsky helped establish the field of work and family life during the time she was at Bank Street College of Education, where she was on the faculty for 25 years. Her more than 100 books and reports include the best-selling Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs, Ask the Children, and the now classic The Six Stages of Parenthood. She has published over 300 articles in journals, books and magazines. Following the keynote presentation, a Panel consisting of six experts discussed Executive Function in Action. The day concluded with lunch and a choice of five afternoon workshops. Please click the following links to view the materials that were handed out at the Symposium. Symposium Program , Mind in the Making Brochure , Mind in the Making FB Tips , Mind in the Making Prescription , Maryland Readiness Symposium , and Panel .
- Kelly S. Mix, Ph.D. and Richard W. Prather, Ph.D. were the keynote speakers at Ready At Five's May 2014 School Readiness Symposium - Can Numbers, Letters and Shapes Be the Building Blocks of Early Math? Dr. Mix is a professor of educational psychology whose research focuses on the development of number concepts and mathematical reasoning. She is particularly interested in the emergence of these ideas in infancy and early childhood, as well as the way conventional symbols for numbers and mathematics are mapped onto this preverbal foundation. Dr. Mix is a Full Professor in the College of Education at Michigan State University. Previously she was an Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Program in Cognitive Science at Indiana University. Dr. Prather is a cognitive scientist interested in children's cognitive development. He is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University. Dr. Prather will be joining the faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park in August 2014 as an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Quantitative Methods. The keynote presentations Getting Ready to Succeed in Math: What Early Childhood Educators Need to Know and Numbers, Letters, and Shapes: What do children know about the order of things? were followed by Remarks from Dr. Lillian Lowery, Supterintendent of Maryland Public Schools. Following lunch, participants were able to participate in one of five afternoon workshops.
- Felicia DeHaney, Ph.D and Lisa Lopez, Ph.D were the keynote speakers at Ready At Five's December 2013 School Readiness Symposium - Promoting Better Outcomes for Maryland's Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Young Children. Felicia DeHaney is recognized as a leader in the field of early childhood education. Dr. DeHaney currently serves as the President and CEO of the National Black Child Development Institute in Washington, D.C., where she leads NBCDI's work to improve and advance the lives of black children and families through education and advocacy. Lisa Lopez is Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of South Florida. Previously, she was an NSF postdoctoral fellow in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research involves furthering our understanding of, and improving upon, the educational and environmental opportunities of Latino children in the United States. The keynote presentations The Early Years and the Early Grades - Early Childhood Education Through a Cultural Lens and Working With Latino DLL Children in the Early Childhood Classroom were followed by talks given by: Linda K. Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison Early Childhood Development for the Administration for Children and Families, and Carla D. Thompson, Vice President, Program Strategy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Dr. Lillian Lowery, Superintendent of Maryland Public Schools provided Welcoming Remarks. Dr. DeHaney's book Being Black is Not a Risk Factor can also be downloaded here.
Michael Levine, Ph.D., and Lisa Guernsey were the keynote speakers at Ready At Five's May 2013 School Readiness Symposium - D is for Digital: New Vast Wasteland or Learning Oasis? Dr. Levine oversees the Cooney Center's efforts to catalyze and support research, innovation and investment in educational media technologies for young children. Dr. Levine is a frequent adviser to the White House, the U.S. Department of Education, PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and regularly appears in the media. Lisa Guernsey directs the Early Education Initiative at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan think tank in Washington D.C., where she focuses on how to scale up high-quality learning environments for young children, birth through age 8. Lisa's most recent book is Screen Time: How Electronic Media-From Baby Videos to Educational Software-Affects Your Young Child (Basic Books, 2012). The keynote presentations Pioneering Literacy in the Digital Wild West and Empowering Teachers: Where Technology Fits in Early Education, were followed by five different afternoon workshops.
Jason T. Downer, Ph.D., was the keynote speaker at Ready At Five's December 2012 School Readiness Symposium - From the Brain to the Classroom: Supporting the Self-Regulation of Children Birth to 5 in Early Care and Education. Dr. Downer is a senior research scientist at the University of Virginia, the assistant director of training at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, clinical assistant professor in the Curry School of Education's Clinical and School Psychology program, and a licensed clinical psychologist in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dr. Downer's presentation was followed by a presentation on Mind in The Making, by Lisa J. Davis, Coordinator of Early Childhood Programs for the Howard County Public School System. The afternoon portion of the Symposium featured Workshop topics such as: A Preview of Maryland's Draft Revised Social Foundations Standards and the relationship to the new Maryland/Ohio Early childhood Comprehensive Assessment System; An Introduction to Working Off the Same Page, Maryland's New Early Learning Standards Alignment Resource; You Want Me to Do What? Developing Self-Regulation in the Classroom Environment; What Does Self-Regulation Look Like in an Early Care and Education Classroom?; and The New IQ? Understanding and Teaching Executive Function Skills In and Out of the Classroom.
Dr. Downer's PowerPoint presentation from the Symposium can be viewed here.
Lisa J. Davis's presentation from the Symposium can be viewed here.
The recommended book list from the Symposium can be viewed here.
Dr. Herbert P. Ginsburg, Ph.D., Jacob H. Schiff Foundations Professor of Psychology & Education, Teachers College, Columbia University was the keynote speaker at Ready At Five's April 2012 School Readiness Symposium - Integrating STEM into Early Childhood. Dr. Ginsburg's presentation was followed by a Q & A session and a Panel discussion with Wolf Trap Institute Early Learning Through the Arts, IBM, and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. The afternoon portion of the Symposium featured Workshop topics such as: DID YOU HEAR THAT? Learning to Listen through Sound Play, Soundscapes, and Stories; Interviewing Children: What Are They Thinking; Integrating STEM into Your PreK Program: Practical Tips to Promote a STEM Friendly Environment; 3 E's of STEM: is Every day, in Every way, for Everyone; Think Like A Scientist, Part I: The Primary Talent Development (PTD) Early Learning Program, PreK; and Think Like A Scientist, Part II: The Primary Talent Development (PTD) Early Learning Program, Kindergarten.
Dr. Ginsburg's Powerpoint presentation from the Symposium can be viewed here
- Mary Louse Hemmeter, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University and Principal Investigator, Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations of Early Learning headlined Ready At Five’s fall School Readiness Symposium - Promotion, Prevention Intervention: Developing Social and Emotional Skills to Support School Readiness. Dr. Hemmeter’s keynote focused on how the Social Emotional Foundations of Early Learning (SEFEL) model is instrumental in changing systems, changing practices and changing lives.
“The power is in prevention”, Dr. Hemmeter stated, emphasizing that the SEFEL Teaching Pyramid emphasizes 4 prongs – children, families, staff and community. To the delight of the 180 person audience, an enriching and enlightening keynote as followed by dialogue with the audience.
The afternoon portion of the Symposium featured 5 stimulating workshops that supported different themes of the Symposium. Workshops included Advance Training for SEFEL Trainers and Coaches, M.L. Hemmeter; Overview of the Social Emotional Foundations in Early Learning: The Teaching Pyramid Model; Val Von Behren, Early Childhood Advisory Council Coordinator, Division of Early Childhood Development, Maryland State Department of Education; Look, Up in the Sky, It’s SEFEL; Neal Horan, Co-Director, Training and Technical Assistance, Center for Child and Human Development, Georgetown University Medical Center; Positive Solutions for Parents, Cynthia Senseney, Family Network Coordinator, Parent Liaison, Carroll County Infants and Toddler Program and SEFEL Learning Party Training, Jodi Shani, PreKindergarten Teacher, Howard County Public Schools.
Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan, Ready At Five’s first School Readiness Symposium speaker, returned to Maryland after ten years to headline our December 9th Symposium, entitled 20/10: An Early Childhood Vision for Maryland. Dr. Kagan is a scholar, practitioner, and national and international expert on early childhood systems. After an introduction by Louis R. Cestello, PNC Regional President, Greater Baltimore and Ready At Five Chair, Dr. Kagan presented to the over 280 educators, administrators, and policy makers her vision of 20 actions for Maryland to consider taking over the next 10 years to build a comprehensive, high-quality early care and education system by the year 2020.
Dr. Kagan began by reviewing two historical values and views that she believes temper all early childhood policy: “America the free” and “America the land of opportunity.” These values, she contended, have led to fragmented early childhood policies created to serve a variety of purposes throughout history. In order to improve early care and education, Kagan asserted that we must move away from thinking about individual programs toward a consideration of early childhood systems: “Creating an early childhood vision and system can and is being done. In America, however, in order to move that vision, we have got to keep in mind our historic values and, because of our fragmented history, the need for a system is all the more great.”
To move toward a stronger early childhood system, Dr. Kagan offered a new “theory of change,” a description of how change happens within a field. In the past, Dr. Kagan explained, models developed in the field of early childhood have been relatively static and inflexible. Dr. Kagan’s new theory of change involves four steps that allow for constantly evolving models that can be used in different contexts: (1) start with the best existing conceptual agreement about what should be done, (2) implement the concept and learn from the experience (3) share data about the experience widely, and (4) tailor the concept to individual contexts.
Using this new theory of change as the basis, Dr. Kagan presented 20 suggestions for actions to take in Maryland to improve our early care and education system by 2020. The recommendations can be viewed here. In addition, Dr. Kagan provided a template to be used in thinking about her recommendations and other ideas of how to improve Maryland’s early childhood system that can be viewed here.
Dr. Kagan’s PowerPoint presentation from the Symposium can be viewed here.
Who Succeeds and Why? How Experiences in Childhood Map a Course for the Future. The May 2010 School Readiness Symposium featured Paul Tough, prominent education writer and author of the highly acclaimed book, Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America. Tough began his presentation by posing two compelling questions, “Why do some kids succeed and some kids fail? How do our experiences in childhood make us the adults that we become?” These questions set up Tough’s discussion of early childhood experiences as he grappled with a pressing issue: the gap in school and life success between low- and high-income youngsters and how effective early childhood interventions decrease this gap. Tough introduced economist James Heckman’s concept of “dark matter” as a possible explanation for the impact of early childhood interventions on low-income children. Dark matter, Tough explained, is a set of personality or character traits that research has shown are connected to positive adult outcomes. These traits include perseverance, self-control, self-confidence, and conscientiousness: all traits that are necessary for being a successful adult. Tough walked the audience through a series of studies that strongly suggest not only that these traits are as important to academic and life success as are cognitive skills, but they are also easily developed through effective early childhood interventions. Tough believes that sustained, imaginative play is at the root of developing positive non-cognitive skills, an activity that can be fostered through early childhood education.
Tough’s message was well-received by the audience and has sparked interest in some jurisdictions. A group of teachers in Howard County have since formed a book club to read and discuss Tough’s book about the Harlem Children’s Zone. Howard County teacher and book club founder Tracy Jones, explaining the rationale for the club, commented that “the gap in school achievement among student groups…has been and continues to be a persistent issue, and one that is inadequately addressed in general. Personally and professionally, this has not only concerned me, but is frustrating when one knows that children in all student groups are so bright, capable, and full of potential. For poor children to not reach their potential is a crime, and perpetuates ongoing poverty. Therefore, studying a project like the ‘Harlem Children’s Zone’ with other concerned people was a perfect opportunity to learn.” Ready At Five expects to support similar follow-up efforts throughout Maryland.
Eliminating Gaps in School Readiness and Achievement. The September 2009 School Readiness Symposium featured Dr. Ronald F. Ferguson, Director of the Tripod Project for School Improvement and the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University and an illustrious panel, including Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, Superintendent, Maryland Public Schools; Dr. Andres Alonso, CEO, Baltimore City Public Schools; Dr. William Hite, Jr., Superintendent, Prince George’s County Schools; Dunbar Brooks, former President, Maryland State Board of Education, Manager, Data Development, Baltimore Metropolitan Council; and Carole Brunson Day, President, National Black Child Development Institute. Over 200 people were privileged to hear Dr. Ferguson focus his presentation on what the common goal should be ….bringing all children up to group proportional equality with equal excellence. Dr. Ferguson’s research has led to breakthroughs in our understanding of how and why students achieve and the forces that come to bear on student outcomes; from curriculum to pedagogy to teachers’ relationships with students; from peer and parent attitudes to public policy. Dr. Ferguson facilitated a conversation with the panelists and the audience. Table discussions offered the Symposium audience the opportunity to share their experiences and different strategies they were prepared to implement in their home jurisdictions, schools and programs. The inaugural edition of Issue Insights – Eliminating Gaps in School Readiness and Achievement - was disseminated at the Symposium. Click here for Dr. Ferguson’s Powerpoint presentation; a Powerpoint developed by Ready At Five and MSDE that compliments Dr. Ferguson’s key messages and compares the Maryland Model for School Readiness Kindergarten assessment data with third grade Maryland State Assessment data and a down loadable version of Issue Insights. Additionally, there is a 6-slide PowerPoint of Dr. Ferguson’s eighteen (18) Research-Inspired Tips for High-Achievement Parenting. Developed as a follow-up to the Symposium click here for Eliminating the Gaps in School Readiness and Achievement Proceedings.
Curriculum Content and Pedagogy to Promote Success in Young Children featured M. Susan Burns, Associate Professor, College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University and an editor of Eager to Learn: Educating Our Preschoolers. The audience for this unique Symposium was Directors of Nursery Schools and accredited child care programs. Symposium participants reviewed and analyzed the Maryland state-approved curricula; visited child care programs that are implementing select state-approved curricula and examined the alignment between the curricula and state content areas. Rich discussion centered on how the different curricula can be implemented in programs.
Nurturing Curiosity Right From the Start. Carolyn Owens, Science Education Specialist, the Capital Area Institute for Mathematics and Science, Penn State University, offered the 190 participants, with a fun and engaging series of activities and exercises that illustrated how to engage young children in thoughtful analysis; ways to strengthen young children’s skills in the process of asking, exploring, and communicating about compelling questions in the world around them; how curious exploration promotes language development and ways to bridge the experiences children have with the topics in science that they need to master. Ms. Owens take away for participants was “Ask the children questions.” Ask children to observe, describe and compare their experiences; build on the concept and then discuss ways to broaden children’s scientific thinking about the concept. Click her for Dr. Owens Symposium presentation.
Children and Science: A Natural Fit. To the delight of the 164 people attending the September 2008 Symposium, Jeff Winokurand Karen Worth, Early Childhood Science Specialists at the Center for Science Education at the Education Development Center in Boston, engaged the participants with fun, practical, interactive hands-on activities that were illustrative of ways to improve the teaching of science to young children and how to use the activities with children. The Symposium presentation was a balance between the experience of hand-on activities and the thinking and understanding behind the activity that supports teaching science to young children. Click here for Mr. Winokur and Ms. Worth’s collaborative PowerPoint presentation. Exploring the world of science – An overview card was released at the Symposium which offers a synopsis of the importance of introducing and using science with young children and includes the 12 ParentTips topics that will be released monthly.
Comprehensive Early Childhood Models: A Multi–National Approach. Headlined by Dr. Philip Gammage and 4 panelists, including Manuel Achten, Coordinator, Maison Relais, Luxembourg; Karin Altgeld, Institute for Work, Skills and Training, University of Duisburg-Essen; Mary Jane Chainski, Director, Bounce Learning Network, Educare Centers, and Cheryl DeAtley, Judy Center Partnership Specialist, Maryland State Department of Education, this full day Symposium provided an international lens through which different worldviews, approaches and programming can be provided to support young children and their children throughout the world. Dr. Gammage called for a broad global perspective when developing public policy that include population, health, immigration, ethnicity, birth, marriage and divorce rate considerations. His focus on the world’s population of young children – the 30 countries that control 80% of the world’s money have only 10% of world’s children. He urged the over (180?) Symposium participants to create early childhood environments that provide opportunities for social and emotional adjustment and provide the support of a “family”. Each of the panelists presented an overview of their program’s design and characteristics and led afternoon workshops. Martin Blank, Director of the Coalition for Community Schools, facilitated the Symposium and led a small By Invitation Only group discussion the following day. Consensus was reached on the need for improved professional development for the early childhood workforce; opportunities to blend funding streams, adopting select progressive international practices that support young children and their families and enhancing the awareness around the economic value of investing in early childhood. Click here for Dr. Gammage’s Powerpointpresentation; Manuel Achten's powerpoint; Karin Altgeld's powerpoint; and Mary Jane Chainski's presentation.
Number and Geometry: Building a Solid Early Math Program. Back my popular demand, Dr. Doug Clements, Associate Dean for Educational Technology at the University of Buffalo, returned to Maryland in November 2007 and focused his presentation on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Curriculum Focal Points for PreK-2.The Curriculum Focal Points and Connections to Prekindergarten are Number and Operations – Developing an understanding of whole numbers, including concepts of correspondence, counting cardinality and comparison; Geometry – Identifying shapes and describing spatial relationships and, Measurement – Identifying measureable attributes and comparing objects by suing these attributes. These topics are recommended content emphases for prekindergarten. Dr. Clements emphasized that it is essential that these focal points are addressed in contexts that promote problem solving, reasoning, communication, making connections and designing and analyzing representations. Click her for Dr. Clements Symposium presentation.
Converstions to Make the Most of Early Childhood Education. Kimberly Oliver, Maryland and National Teacher of the Year, believes that quality teachers can raise student achievement for disadvantage students. She reinforced the need to support the entire family emphasizing how a positive early learning experience can outweigh the effects of race, poverty and language barriers. Oliver urged Symposium participants to create a culture of excellence by committing to equity and expectations and building a sound foundation for all young children. Robert C. Pianta, Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning at the University of Virginia, stressed the critical importance of classroom observations by noticing the experiences of children in early childhood settings; determining how these interactions and experiences matter for children and ways in which the richness and quality of experiences in classroom can be improved through observing relationships and interactions. He focused on three aspects of professional development - emotional support, instruction support and organization management, illustrating how student achievement is increased where teacher-child interactions and relationships are supported and reinforced. Click here to review Dr. Pianta's powerpoint presentation.
The Building Blocks of Mathematics. Dr. Doug Clements captivated the sellout audience by emphasizing the critical importance of implementing a research-based integrated mathematics curriculum for young children. Clements maintains this can be achieved by providing sustained time on fewer key concepts and focusing on a cohesive cluster of related ideas, concepts, skills and procedures that form the foundation for higher-level mathematics. For prek children that includes: Number and operations (developing understanding of whole numbers, including correspondence, counting, cardinally and comparison; Geometry (identifying shapes and describing spatial relationships) and Measurement (identifying attributes and comparing objects using the attributes.) Click here to review the data-based PDF presentation.
Collaboration: The Essential Component to School Readiness. Collaboration is the key to a child's success in school. Judy Jablon, a consultant, facilitator, educator and author, discussed ways that collaboration supports school readiness. She provided techniques for improving communication and relationships with children and adults and identified strategies that create a culture of collaboration and positive relationships on the behalf of young children. Ms. Jablon facilitated a participant led discussion on collaboration. Ms. Jablon's presentation is available.
Exploring the Connection between Health and School Readiness. Dr. Judith Romano, a pediatrician and the early childhood spokesperson for American Academy of Pediatrics, made the connection between healthy young children and school readiness. She discussed how individuals and professionals can partner with pediatricians to maximize the development and health of young children. She highlighted effective ways to talk about investing in young children as it relates to health and school readiness. During the second half of the symposium, Dr. Romano facilitated a panel that included overviews of the Reach Out and Read Program and DocsForTots with panelist identifying promising practices and programs that connect pediatricians, the broader health community and the early childhood community. Dr. Romano's presentation is now available.
Ready To Read: Families are Fundamental. Children’s literacy levels are strongly linked to the educational level of their parents. Many parents lack basic literacy skills in order to be involved in their child's education. Family Literacy programs and services provide a unique way to address these challanges. Children who participate in family literacy programs make gains three times greater than would have been expected based on their pre-enrollment rate of development. Adults who participate remain enrolled longer than those in adult-only programs, and 43% become employed, compared with 14% before enrolling. Sharon Darling, President and Founder, National Center for Family Literacy offered cutting-edge research on Family Literacy and information on national models.
The Building Blocks of Early Literacy. Dr. Timothy Shanahan, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago and Director, the Center for Literacy presented the findings and recommendations from the National Early Literacy Panel and discussed the predictors of reading achievement, namely teaching the alphabetic code, book exploration, language development, parental involvement, and preschool experiences. Dr. Shanahan's presentation is now available.
Early Childhood Development: Economic Development with a High Public Return, featuring Arthur J. Rolnick, Senior Vice President and Director of Research, The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, explored how early childhood development programs can be economic development initiatives, yielding high public returns as well as private returns. For more information, review Rob Gurnewald's and Art Rolnick's paper, A Proposal for Achieving High Return on Early Childhood Development.
Building Cultural and Linguistic Competency for Families with Young Children, featuring Wendy Jones and Kathy Hepburn, National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University, focused on designing programs and curriculia that are culturally competent and responsive to children and families learning the English language. The data and findings presented during Wendy Jones' Keynote Address and presentations from the two workshops, Designing Culturally Compentent Policies led by Wendy Jones and Creating Culturally Competent Services led by Kathy Hepburn are available.During the full-day event, Ready At Five awarded its first annual Distinguished Performance Award to the Baltimore Leadership in Action Program.
Empowering English Language Learners, featuring Dr. Betty A. Smallwood, Center for Applied Linguistics, focused on specific language and literacy strategies to improve school readiness of children learning English.
Promoting Language & Literacy for Young Children from Diverse Backgrounds, the first in the 2004 series on meeting the language and literacy needs of every child, featured Dr. Nonie Lesaux, Associate Professor at Harvard University, Graduate School of Education. Click here to review the presentation or references.
Roar Into Reading: Help Your Child Become a Reader, a special program for parents, featured the cast and creators of the acclaimed PBS Children's TV program Between the Lions. Leona Lion and Christopher Cerf, Co-Creator and Creative Producer lead the discussion on things parents can do with their children to improve language and literacy development. Click here for activities to build Language & Literacy skills.
Fostering Emergent Literacy and School Readiness: Providing Balance and Best Practices featured Dr. Dorothy Strickland, Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. Click here to review the session's abstract, including key scientifically based reading research findings and predictors of reading success.
Costs and Benefits of Preschool Outlined at School Readiness Symposium! Preschool: Not Just an Academic Investment featured Steven Barnett, Director, National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University. Click here to review the data-based power point presentation.
Investing in the Future featured Dr. Fran Bond, Director, Professional Development & Technical Assistance Center, Ready To Learn, PBS Click here to review the abstract.
What's Ahead for Early Care and Education: Maryland's Role in Setting the Agendafeatured Dr. Sharon Lynn Kagan, the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy at Teachers College, Columbia University and Senior Research Scientist at Yale University's Child Study Center. Click here to review the abstract.
Jurisdictional Strategic Planning
In 2002 and 2003 Ready At Five offered 4 jurisdictional strategic planning meetings. A Strategic Planning Guide is now available to help local communities conduct similar strategic planning meetings.