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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI to host summer institute
on successful transitions for children

KINGSTON, R.I. -- May 23, 2000 -- The Sixth Rhode Island Early Childhood Summer Institute on early literacy will be held in June at the University of Rhode Island's Quinn Hall on the Kingston Campus.

The five-day program will start Wednesday, June 21 and end Tuesday, June 27. The fee for the program entitled, "Early Literacy: A Key to Establishing Successful Transitions for Children Birth to Age 8," is $150. It covers tuition and books.

"The overarching goal of the institute is to blend theory, research findings, and practical applications in order to develop common understandings about and strategies for using the power of early literacy as a vehicle for positive transitions for children," said Diane Horm-Wingerd, URI professor and chairman of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, in announcing the institute.

"We are very excited about this community collaborative effort between the University of Rhode Island, and the state Departments of Health, Human Services, and Education," said Ruth Schennum, Part C coordinator of the Department of Health's Early Intervention Program.

According to Linda Bryan, parent and staff member of the Parent Support Network, "the collaboration between service providers and parents is a very important feature of this 5-day program."

Kathleen Cross, director of the Eastern Region Early Intervention Program, has attended previous institutes. She noted that the chance to collaborate on a community team project ensures that families will receive quality services to meet the needs of their family members.

Community-based teams will work on establishing and maintaining successful transitions among and between early care and education for all children birth to age 8 in their community. At least one member of the team must be a school district administrator (principals, central office administrators, and superintendents). Charlotte Diffendale, Early Childhood and Even Start Family Literacy coordinator for the Department of Education explained: "A team might include an early intervention provider, a Head Start coordinator, a kindergarten teacher, a parent and a school principal. This would be the ideal community team."

Community teams will engage in large and small group discussions. Morning sessions will focus on research and theoretical models while the afternoons will highlight local practitioners who exemplify best practices. Teams will begin to create their transition plans for their community during the five-day institute. Five follow-up sessions will be held between September and June of the following academic year to provide additional information and support to the community teams as they work to implement their transition plans.

"We are hoping that several communities throughout Rhode Island take advantage of this opportunity to work on early literacy and transition issues for the children of Rhode Island," said Amy Cohen, preschool grant coordinator and childhood specialist for the Department of Education.

For further information, please call Beverly O'Keefe, URI Family Resource Partnership director at (401) 277-5244.


For Information: Beverly O'Keefe 401-277-5244, Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116


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