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Susan Landry, professor and developmental psychologist at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, will deliver The Parsons Foundation Early Childhood Lecture/President's Lecture Thursday, Jan. 27, at Old Dominion University. Her talk will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building auditorium.

The lecture, titled "Creating Family and School Environments that Support School Readiness for Young Children," is free and open to the public.

Landry is also the chief of the Division of Developmental Pediatrics and the director of the Center for Improving the Readiness of Children for Learning and Education (CIRCLE) in the Department of Pediatrics at the Houston center. Her activities involve conducting numerous research projects and training activities related to the goal of promoting high-quality learning environments for young children.

Landry and her staff also carry out a large community-based project in the Acres Homes area of Houston. This and other projects place a special emphasis on the effects of different aspects of caregiving on children's development and ways to promote suitable environments. A large research database on early childhood has been developed from Landry's numerous research programs supported by the National Institutes of Child Health and Development, foundations and the UT-Houston center. These include longitudinal evaluations of biological and environmental influences on children's development from infancy through elementary school-age years. More than 70 peer-reviewed publications and over a dozen chapters describe the findings of these research studies.

The center, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the Texas Education Agency and several foundations is currently involved in using the knowledge gained from years of studying young children to help promote the national goals of early childhood literacy initiatives. These include conducting and evaluating model training programs for Head Start and pre-kindergarten teachers across Texas and a number of other states with the goal of improving young children's language and early literacy and math skills. Evaluations of these programs show significant gains in classroom quality and children's skill development.

Landry was a featured speaker at First Lady Laura Bush's White House Summit and Mini-White House Summits held across the United States, discussing cognitive development in young children. She has been a featured and keynote speaker for a number of conferences regarding this issue. Most recently, she was invited to present her research before Senator Edward Kennedy, Department of Education representatives and others in Washington, D.C. In addition, CIRCLE was chosen by the National Head Start Bureau to provide language and literacy professional development and follow up to 2,300 early literacy specialists across the United States during summer 2002.

Other lectures this semester include:

Feb. 9 - Roger Wilkins, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and professor of history and American culture at George Mason University, "The Politics of Equality," Ted Constant Convocation Center.

March 31 - Louise Leakey, paleoanthropologist and National Geographic explorer-in-residence, "Origins and Evolution: In Search of How We Became Human," Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building.

April 28 - National Public Radio personality Garrison Keillor of "A Prairie Home Companion," Ted Constant Convocation Center.

For more information call 683-3114.

This article was posted on: January 6, 2005

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