Vanderbilt researcher to advise Brazilian government on early education

Vanderbilt Peabody researcher David Dickinson will travel to Brasilia, Brazil the week of Oct. 15 to share with that nation’s parliament lessons learned about educating children from birth to age 3.

Very early childhood education, increasingly common in the United States, is relatively unheard of in Brazil. Dickinson will be participating in a seminar organized to inform the Education Committee of the Chamber of Deputies of the National Brazilian Parliament (Comissão de Educação e Cultura da Câmara dos Deputados) Oct. 15. In his comments, Dickinson will draw on his own groundbreaking research that examined the role of preschool classrooms in fostering young children’s language development and has helped establish the importance of early language for later literacy skills.

“Education for the children aged 0 to 3 has been a marginal concern of Brazilian public policies until very recently. Most existing services are private or provided under voucher-type systems allocated to poorer families,” Dickinson, interim chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning and professor of education, said. “The new concern for education at this level is just emerging, with some recognizing that care for children at this age may have a significant impact on their future academic success. This seminar is an effort to provide Brazilian policymakers with evidence from research about what programs are most effective to help them develop a system that benefits children and makes sense financially.”

Dickinson’s work with Brazil is just the latest example of Vanderbilt’s longstanding relationship with that country, which began after World War II. The Vanderbilt Institute for Brazilian Studies, which later became the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies, was established in 1947 with seed money from the Carnegie Corporation. The late Chancellor Harvie Branscomb led the university’s effort to establish a major cooperative program for research and teaching with Brazil.

Former Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso spoke on the university campus Oct. 8, 2007.

Media Contact: Melanie Moran, (615) 322-NEWS

Explore Story Topics