Upcoming virtual international conference to focus on early childhood education

Research group evaluates early childhood education

A closer look at how the pandemic has impacted education

DETROIT – This week Local 4 News is pleased to be a part of a first. There will be a virtual international conference to discuss the topic of early childhood education. 

The program is an initiative of HighScope in Ypsilanti, a non-profit which for 50 years has been researching and developing how children learn and then using the information to improve pre-K education. 

The conference will be critical to parents and educators alike.

Nestled in Ypsilanti the non-profit HighScope’s groundbreaking research that led to an early understanding that learning between the ages of birth to 5 years old is key to a child’s ability to learn and succeed beyond learning.

HighScope’s landmark study in 1962 was called the Perry Preschool Study.

“It was a study trying to understand why the Black children in Ypsilanti were being placed in more special education services, were not graduating as well as their peers,” said Dr. Alejandra Barraza of HighScope.

In short, Black children in Ypsilanti were being placed, wholesale in special education and for all intent and purposes cast away from paths to success through learning.

What HighScope learned was environment and the approach to teaching could be confused with the ability to learn and it was more important to micro-focus on the fixes and the HighScope approach to learning was born and has grown internationally as a way to level the playing field.

“One of the things is that our approach really focuses on the strengths verses the deficits,” said Barraza.

Go through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to join the conversation at a time when COVID-19 and remote learning exacerbated learning inequities.

“What we saw is that to support growth and development in the learning environment you need to be attune to all the developmental needs of kids,” said Dr. Marquita Davis of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Davis is the deputy director of early learning for the organization.

The virtual conference starts Wednesday. Local 4 News anchor Devin Scillian will lead a conversation with nationally known politician from San Antonio, Julian Castro.

Local 4 News reporter, Paula Tutman, will be leading the discussion with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

On Thursday, Local 4 News reporter, Nick Monecelli, is on deck to discuss the business of early childhood education. 

And Friday, Local 4 News anchor, Kimberly Gill, has a breakout session for parents particularly important as we go into year two of COVID-induced learning deficits.

“We have different sessions for three days from all around the world,” said Barraza.


You can register for the conference by clicking here.

About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.