In a report broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) on Tuesday, June 25, Megan Gunnar, Regents Professor and director at the Institute of Child Development, emphasized the value of quality pre-K programs, not only for their effect on later academic achievement, but also for their effect on the development of children's overall and life-long social and decision making skills.
The Association for Psychological Science has named Megan Gunnar, Regents Professor, Director of the Institute of Child Development, and CNBD Associate Director, the 2014 recipient of the APS Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement. APS recently established this annual award to recognize and to honor members of the discipline who masterfully help students and others discover and pursue their own career and research goals.
The right timing can make all the difference. And where children’s brain development is concerned, University of Minnesota researchers are finding that particularly important.
“The earlier you intervene, the bigger impact you can have,” says Michael Georgieff, M.D., director of the University’s Center for Neurobehavioral Development and a neonatologist at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital. “You’re laying the foundation for a healthy adult mental life.”
Today autism spectrum disorders can be reasonably diagnosed by a child’s third or fourth birthday, but researchers want to see if they can be predicted even earlier, well before language and behavioral symptoms typically arise. Early diagnosis and intervention can help kids with ASDs navigate how to learn, play, and interact with others as they grow.
At the close of the London Olympics, Prime Minister David Cameron and Vice President Michel Temer of Brazil, the site of 2016 Olympics, announced a new race--a race to reduce the number of malnourished children in the world by 2016. Michael Georgieff, professor, Institute of Child Development and the Department of Pediatrics and director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Development, spoke at a UNICEF-sponsored meeting on malnutrition and brain development in children that followed this announcement. The meeting was streamed live to over 90 countries.
At first glance, there is little to distinguish this preschool classroom from any other. The room is bright and cheerful, full of chatter and a headlong energy. One wall is covered with watercolor autumn scenes crafted by the children; another, under a sign that says “Museum,” features pictures done with finger paints. Elsewhere, letters of the alphabet cut out of construction paper march in place.