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Archive for Saturday, September 27, 2008

Employers urged to invest in childhood development

The economic strength of the US depends on how today's businesses help young children develop - that was the message to local business and government leaders from a panel of mental health and economic experts.

September 27, 2008

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Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute in New York, was the keynote speaker at an early childhood education summit Friday with local business and school district leaders.

Ellen Galinsky, president and co-founder of the Families and Work Institute in New York, was the keynote speaker at an early childhood education summit Friday with local business and school district leaders.

Businesses can help secure our future economic vitality by investing in early childhood development, according to a panel of economic and childhood development experts.

It's a question of nature vs. nurture, they told a crowd of several hundred business and government leaders Friday at Maceli's, 1031 N.H. If young children aren't given the attention they need, they will be less likely to excel academically and work collaboratively with others.

Employers should help parents offset the costs of child care by providing incentives and opportunities that allow for early childhood development, said Chip Blaser, Douglas County Community Foundation executive director.

"When we talk about economic development, we talk about investment in people," said Rich Minder, a Lawrence school board member and part of the Douglas County Leadership Delegation on Early Learning.

More than 53 percent of women with infants in the United States are working.

"They need child care," Minder said. "Their productivity now depends on the availability and affordability and the quality of early learning programs."

Panelists said that providing quality early childhood care lays the groundwork for a future thriving economy, as children with sound emotional development grow to take the helm of business.

"The real payoff comes later, when the children that are in high-quality programs become our future work force," Minder said.

Ellen Galinsky, president of the New York City-based Families and Work Institute, said research is finding that children make critical gains in the development of their brains before they set foot in a classroom.

"Kids are born learning," she said.

Rick Gaskill, a clinical director at Sumner Mental Health Center in Wellington, said that important bonding relationships are formed between parents and infants, setting the foundation for children to become healthy, well-adjusted adults.

A close relationship between parents and infants means that future businesspeople develop necessary skills while they are still in swaddling clothes.

"All learning and our economic development and our future economic vitality really rest on a solid foundation of early childhood and the way the children grow in the first years of life," Minder said.

After a question-and-answer session, attendees, which included a number of legislators and candidates, discussed how Douglas County businesses can work to foster the kind of childhood development necessary to compete in a global economy.

Comments

Luxor 6 years, 3 months ago

ARe parents responsible for ANYTHING anymore or is everything child related the responsibilty of the general public??

6 years, 3 months ago

I don't know about Lawrence, but I know Topeka has a program where moms can bring their baby to work with them for the first 6 months in order to breastfeed and allow their baby to securely attach. Ideas like this can make the difference between securely attached infants and not securely attached infants.

commuter 6 years, 3 months ago

What a great idea. Make businesses pay for everything. Great. Maybe one day these type of people will be out of a job due their own stupidity.

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