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Early childhood education to be discussed at Vanderbilt’s John F. Kennedy Center

Jan. 17, 2002, 2:33 PM

January 17, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — “Why is building quality early childhood education so difficult?” This question will be explored on Tuesday, Jan. 22, as part of the Kennedy Center series “Occasional Conversations on Human Development.”

The discussion will be held a 4 p.m. in Room 241 of the John F. Kennedy Center/MRL Building on the Peabody campus of Vanderbilt University.

“Child care and early education help to shape the way children think, learn and behave for the rest of their lives,” said Ann Kaiser, professor of special education and director of the Kennedy Center’s Research Program on Communication, Cognitive and Emotional Development.

“It’s important for all of us—parents, educators, public policy makers, citizens—to pay attention to the quality of those experiences,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser will serve as both moderator and as a participant in the discussion.

Steps that can be taken at the state and national level to provide high-quality, affordable early childhood education will also be discussed. In addition to Kaiser, panelists exploring this issue include Dale Farran, professor of education and Kennedy Center senior fellow; Debbie Miller, director, Center for Child and Family Policy, Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies; Mark Wolery, professor of special education and Kennedy Center senior fellow and investigator, and a representative from the Office of the Governor. Moderating the audience question and answer session will be Nashville journalist Dana Pride.

Early childhood education is one of the areas highlighted in Tennessee and its Children: Unmet Needs 2001, a report published by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth. The report indicates “assisting preschool children to prepare for school should be a high priority for all Tennesseans.”

The Kennedy Center’s series ‘Occasional Conversations on Human Development,’ which is free and open to the public, brings together experts from diverse perspectives to explore issues pertinent to development and learning. For more information call 322-8240.

Contact: Princine Lewis, (615) 322-News