Omaha, Neb. — Caring adults can spark children’s curiosity and passion for reading at a very early age, while also helping them build knowledge about the world. Providing educators with high-quality reading experiences that support children in constructing knowledge and lead to the ability to comprehend written information at high levels is the focus of the fourth and final institute of the Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan “Professional Development for All” 2017-2018 series.
The event, entitled “Children as Researchers: Reading to Learn Can Start Early,” is offered Thursday, March 1, at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, 2825 Y St. in Omaha. The institute runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The institute will be repeated Saturday, March 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., also at the Kroc Center.
Over the two days, more than 200 child care providers, teachers, and other professionals who work with children from birth – Grade 3 will explore new research-based ideas about children’s learning, as well as educational practices that engage young children and their families.
“Research shows that authentic learning experiences captivate the minds of children as they try to make sense of their world,” said Janette Merkel, program specialist at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute. “When we support play-based experiences with meaningful interactions with informational text, we go beyond teaching about content and really nurture children’s learning abilities.”
The keynote speaker for the March institute is Susan Bennett-Armistead, an associate professor of early literacy at the University of Maine. Other speakers include Mary Carey, a birth to third grade facilitator with the Rollins Center for Language & Literacy in Atlanta; Julie Humphrey, youth and family services manager at the Omaha Public Library; and Hannah Schneewind, a certified reading specialist and literacy consultant in New York.
Developed by the Buffett Institute and funded by the Learning Community of Douglas and Sarpy Counties, the free professional development series is now in its third year. “PD for All” is designed to introduce leading-edge research and innovative practices to those who work with young children and their families. Additionally, the institutes give early childhood professionals the chance to come together and learn from each other.