Janet L. McCoy


AUBURN -- An Auburn University-led conference in Birmingham Aug. 16-19 will focus on how to create a climate for children's learning as they move into the classroom and then into the workforce.

The conference at the Tutwiler Hotel, is titled "Transitions from Childhood to the Workforce." It will bring together child experts from the United States, France, Portugal and Canada.

It is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation and also sponsored by Alabama Power Company, the Birmingham Early Learning Center and AU's Department of Human Development and Family Studies and the AU offices of vice president for research and vice president for outreach.

"The main goal of this conference is to bridge the theoretical gap in our knowledge between early child development and learning and factors that lead to successful school and, later, work," says Marilyn Bradbard, professor and head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at AU and conference coordinator.

"Specifically, our objective is to examine what we know and what we do not know about the development of child social and cognitive competence on the one hand and school readiness characteristics, on the other hand.

"Most children make a reasonable successful transition to school and the developmental demands that school represent," she said. "Unfortunately, a significant number do not. It is this group that represents the greatest potential threat to society because these are the children that are most likely to be turned-off by the learning process that is a prerequisite for later success."

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CONTACT: Bradbard or Brian Vaughn , 334/844-4151

** MEDIA NOTE: The conference begins Monday, Aug. 16, at 7:30 p.m., with a reception at the Birmingham Early Learning Center. All other sessions will be at the Tutwiler Hotel.