Research shows that children's earliest experiences
play a critical role in their ability to grow up
healthy and ready to learn. That's why the
Connecticut Commission on Children organized a
summit where the latest advances in neuroscience,
molecular biology, genetics, and other areas of
research were discussed with an eye toward using
them as the basis for public policy in Connecticut.
The event, which drew
more than 300 people, featured opening remarks from
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of the 3rd District. She
noted that Connecticut's
National Summit on America's Children, held
earlier in the year in Washington, D.C., and
co-chaired by her. "
State House of Representatives Speaker
James A. Amann introduced DeLauro, and there were video greetings from U.S.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Governor M. Jodi
Rell, and Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, clinical professor
of pediatrics emeritus at Harvard Medical School and
famous throughout the world for his research and
writing on early childhood development.
Experts from around the country discussed:
begins and influences the early steps to
the impact of poverty on a child's brain,
what connectedness - or the lack of it - does to a child's learning and mental health,
the impact of low birth weight on a child,
how families influence the choices and outcomes of their children over time,
how high-quality early care affects play and learning, and
what state systems are needed to ensure the health and well-being of Connecticut's children.
Education Commissioner George Coleman and Commission
on Children Executive Director Elaine Zimmerman
served as moderators. Dr. Edward Zigler, Sterling
professor of psychology emeritus and director
emeritus of the Edward Zigler Center for Child
Development and Social Policy at Yale University,
provided closing remarks.
The Connecticut Network (CT-N) recorded the Summit
and has made the program available for
viewing on your computer for a limited time. You
check CT-N's listings for encore presentations
of the program or
buy it in DVD or VHS format. (Total viewing
time: 4 hours, 38 minutes)
The Summit received video greetings from three
people who couldn't attend in person:
Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of
Rell, governor of Connecticut
Dr. T. Berry Brazelton,
clinical professor of pediatrics emeritus at
Harvard Medical School
Double-click on the
"play" arrows below to view their greetings.
M. Jodi Rell
T. Berry Brazelton
documents have been converted to PDF format.
"The Science of
Early Child Development," by Dr. Neal Halfon
(47 pages) "Brain circuits
stabilize with age, making them increasingly
more difficult to alter...The window of
opportunity for adaptive development remains
open for many years, but the costs of
remediation grow over time...It is more
efficient, both biologically and
economically, to get things right the first
time than to try to fix them later."
Experiences for Our Youngest Children:
Issues and Opportunities," by Nina Sazer
O'Donnell (14 pages "One-quarter to
one-third of America's kindergarteners are
coming to school behind...The most
vulnerable children are at least one to two
years behind...By the age of 5, many
children in high-risk environments are
already developmentally behind."
Click on the
thumbnail to enlarge. All photos by Pat Estill.
Some of the
more than 300 people who turned out for the
Speaker of the House of Representatives
James A. Amann introduces Congresswoman Rosa
Coleman, deputy commissioner of the state
Department of Education, co-moderated the
forum with Commission on Children Executive
Director Elaine Zimmerman.
Conley, professor of social sciences and
chair of sociology at New York University.
Justice, associate professor, School of
Teaching and Learning, Ohio State
on Children Chair Emerita Laura Lee Simon
introduces Michael J. Petro.
Petro, vice president and director of
business and government relations, Committee
for Economic Development.
Housing Authority Executive Director Curtis
Zigler, the closing speaker, with Richard
Sussman of the Hartford Foundation for
Public Giving, Congresswoman DeLauro, and
Commission on Children Executive Director
Two of the
speakers, Nina Sezer O'Donell, director of
national strategies for the United Way of
America, and Dr. Neal Halfon, director of
the UCLA Center for Healthier Children,
Families, and Communities.