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Conference Will Focus on Early-Childhood Development

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Feb. 29, 2008 — Childcare providers, parents and others involved in early-childhood education — as well as the public — are invited to the 10th annual Best Beginnings conference set for next week on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
"It's an ideal venue if you want to learn about the intricate details involved in early-childhood education," said Monife G. Stout, Human Services Department spokeswoman.
The conference will take place Monday and Tuesday in the Cafetorium on the University of the Virgin Islands' St. Croix campus, and Thursday and Friday at UVI's Sports and Fitness Center on St. Thomas. It kicks off at 7:30 a.m. each day with registration and breakfast.
Child-development specialist Jim Gill, a musician and author, will give the keynote address and perform Monday at the Central High School gymnasium on St. Croix and Thursday at Charlotte Amalie High School. His musical performances will run from 6 to 8 p.m.
The concerts will focus on music and play and parents are encouraged to attend with their children.
A graduate of the Erikson Institute of Chicago, Gill spend 10 years directing weekly programs in music play for families with special-needs children in the Chicago area. He now presents concerts across the nation.
He is the author of May There Always Be Sunshine, a children's book based on a traditional song he sings in his concerts. The book received the 2002 Book Award from the Philadelphia Children's Museum.
Topics for the breakout sessions include math and science in everyday experiences, laughing your way to less stress, conflict resolution, how to treat disruptive behaviors, keeping culture relevant, fun with crafts, hands-on activities for language development, and the importance of fathers in the development of children.
Speakers include local experts. Conference sponsors are UVI, the Human Services Department, Education Department, Health Department, Lutheran Social Services and the Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands.
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