The eighth biennial Head Start National Research Conference, June 26-28, in Washington, D.C., will inform practitioners, researchers, administrators and policy-makers about new research in early childhood and family issues.
The conference also aims to connect researchers and practitioners involved in Head Start-a federally funded enrichment program for low-income families with children-so that they can translate early-childhood research into practical applications.
By offering a variety of presentations-from roundtable discussions and workshops to master lectures-the conference fosters an interactive and collaborative environment, says psychologist Faith Lamb-Parker, PhD, an assistant clinical professor at Columbia University's Center for Population and Family Health and a conference organizer.
"In the past, practitioners and researchers spoke different languages-they didn't relate," says Lamb-Parker, who develops and conducts the conference with psychologist John Hagen, PhD. "But the situation has improved at each conference. Now we see practitioners and researchers asking, 'What can we learn from each other?'"
Among the major foci of this year's conference are the development of well-adjusted children; how families, schools, communities and cultural context shape young children's development; evidence-based programming and strategies; and a re-examination of traditional early-childhood practices and approaches.