The Children Together, Inc. Board held its 13th annual conference March 27 at the First Baptist Church in Alexandria. The non-profit organization is committed to increasing opportunities for young children with and without disabilities to participate in early childhood experiences together. The conference speaker was Dr. Pam Schiller. In attendance were 165 parents, teachers, social workers and administrators.
Schiller, a curriculum specialist and freelance author, has worked as a classroom teacher and a child care administrator, as well as a professor at the University of Houston. She is the author of several early childhood curriculums and 30 teacher and parent resource books. In her presentation, Schiller talked about the latest brain research and the correlation with language acquisition and learning to read. She noted that teachers must understand the "windows of opportunity" that children have for learning language. The windows open at birth and unfold until the age of puberty. Children learn best through play and in environments that are language rich and clutter free. Also learning environments should have consistent routines, lots of time for reading and exploring, teachers who build a relationship of trust with the children and rooms should have a cozy feel to them.