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Early Childhood Education

Steve Scher
12/05/2011 at 10:00 a.m.

Playing silly games with babies and reading to toddlers aren't just fun activities; they also help children develop the skills they'll need when they start school, like putting sounds together or knowing a book's pages are turned while you read. Not all children are equally prepared. Some are already behind on the first day of kindergarten. What skills do toddlers need? How do they get them? Which toddlers aren't developing those skills? Is anyone stepping in to fill the gap?


Dr. Gina Lebedeva is the translation, outreach and education director at the University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. She's worked in early childhood education as a research scientist, a speech–language pathologist and a mother.

Lily Talley is the owner, director and head teacher of the Seattle Learning Center, a preschool in Queen Anne. She was originally a high school history teacher, and decided to switch to preschool while working as a nanny. At the Seattle Learning Center, she focuses on educating children by developing their creativity and physical fitness. She has a seven–week–old daughter.

Gail Joseph is an assistant professor of educational psychology and early childhood and family studies at the University of Washington. She has worked in early childhood education at the local, state and federal levels, and she currently works at the Head Start Center for Inclusion.

Hannah Lidman is currently an outreach coordinator for the University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, and she is also the legislative director for the League of Education Voters. She started her work in education as the community involvement coordinator for Governor Locke's Reading Corps program. She has worked in early learning research, policy and advocacy ever since.

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