T. Berry Brazelton, "America's Pediatrician," To Address 21st Century Schools

A record number of teachers, principals, parents and policy makers working to implement school-based child care and family support services will gather to hear T. Berry Brazelton, best-selling author and leading national expert on children’s health, July 21, 1999, at the tenth annual School of the 21st Century conference at Yale University. The conference, entitled Schools as Family and Community Resources: Preparing for the New Millennium, will be held July 19-22, 1999 at the Omni New Haven Hotel and is sponsored by the School of the 21st Century at Yale.

The School of the 21st Century (21C), also known as the Family Resource Center (FRC) in some communities, transforms elementary schools into year-round, multi-service centers operating from early morning to early evening offering services such as:

– all-day, year-round preschool

– before-, after-school and vacation care for school-age children

– information and referral services for families

– guidance and support for new parents

– networks and training for community child care providers

– health education and services

T. Berry Brazelton, perhaps the nation’s best-known pediatrician and expert on child development, will be the keynote speaker on Wednesday, July 21 at 9 am. “The School of the 21st Century is right on target in tying together child care, preventive health care, after-school care and parent education,” said Brazelton. “What better way to ensure the healthy development of all children?”

Yale Psychology Professor Edward Zigler, one of the principal architects of the federal Head Start program and founder of the 21C initiative said, “The growing number of dual-earner families and increased concern about early childhood experiences prompted by recent brain research have created an expanding demand for quality child care and other family support services; more and more people are seeing the School of the 21st Century model as part of the answer.”

Other speakers at the four day conference include: producer, composer and humorist Christopher Cerf, who will discuss what lies ahead for children’s television, including its potential as an educational tool; Michael Kaplan of the Yale Child Study Center who will explore policy implications of the explosive new developments in brain research; James H. Wendorf of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, who will share insights into successful intervention strategies for children with learning disabilities; and Ruby Takanishi of the Foundation for Child Development and Marianne Kugler of the Mott Foundation, who will describe current and future funding opportunities for child- and family-centered programs.

The conference agenda is an exciting mix of small group working sessions, hands-on workshops and large group seminars on cutting edge topics such as brain research, technology, quality programming and parent involvement. The conference’s trademark strength is its use of actual program administrators from all over the country to present workshops based on their own experiences in implementation. Among the new topics that will be presented by practitioners this year are: creating a dental clinic, working with an advisory board, and operating a summer program. Other workshops will focus on issues such as planning, financing and marketing 21C programs, as well as practical “how-to” sessions on running high-quality preschool and extended day programs.

“The growing public interest in early childhood has expanded the size of our conference again this year,” said School of the 21st Century Director Matia Finn-Stevenson. “We have representatives from 26 states. The group is a fascinating mix of experienced program administrators as well as eager newcomers; the program has something to offer everyone.”

Since 1988, more than 600 schools in 17 states have implemented the School of the 21st Century program. The model has proven successful in urban, rural and suburban settings as well as in affluent, middle class and poor communities. Both Connecticut and Kentucky have launched statewide initiatives based on the model, and with growing public interest in early childhood development and afterschool programs, more and more states are starting pilot initiatives.

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