The fast-paced lifestyle of today’s world, which has been created by technology, globalization, and changing economic conditions, has threatened the healthy development of the child, the family, and the community. The Simms/Mann Institute for Education and Community Development was created to address this threat. This week will mark a major advance in connecting tomorrow’s early childhood care practitioners with leading academic researchers and professional development opportunities. Earlier this month, on February 14th and 15th, the Simms/Mann Institute hosted the first ever Community College Think Tank and announced the seven first Fellowship recipients.
The Simms/Mann Institute for Education and Community Development Think Tank and Fellowship is a unique public/private partnership that is offering professional development opportunities to Community College Faculty and Staff whose focus is on children ages 0-3. This is the first program of its kind to be implemented at the Community College level. Community Colleges in California educate 70% of early childhood educators.
“The Foundation for Santa Barbara City College is excited to work in partnership with the Simms/Mann Institute for Education and Community Development to bring attention to the importance of early childhood development and the rapidly changing and complex structure of family and social dynamics,” said Neil Kreisel, President, Foundation for Santa Barbara City College. “We are fortunate to be working with a group of intelligent, compassionate, and visionary leaders at the Simms/Mann Institute who are dedicated to creating innovative educational programs that address the critical issues facing families today. We are pleased and grateful to have Dr. Victoria Simms, President of Simms/ Mann Institute for Education and Community Development on the Foundation for SBCC Board of Directors.”
Patricia Kuhl, Ph.D. and Andrew Meltzoff, Ph.D., Co-Directors of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, will be presenting at the Simms/Mann Institute for Education and Community Development’s first Think Tank. Kuhl and Meltzoff are internationally recognized experts in early childhood development and neuroscience. Additionally, Kuhl was featured in the February 11th edition of the Wall Street Journal for her groundbreaking study reported in Brain & Language in January 2013. Kuhl and her team are conducting some of the first experiments using magnetoencephalography (MEG), a noninvasive brain-imaging technology, to study child development at the earliest stages of learning.
“The baby brain is a mystery, waiting to be unpeeled. It’s full of secrets waiting to be uncovered,” Patricia Kuhl said in the Wall Street Journal article.
The February 14th and 15th Think Tank will provided Fellows with the opportunity to hear from and meet with leading researchers in the field. The Fellows will participate in a specially designed, year-long fellowship program aimed at professional development. The Fellows will each conduct a project based on topics presented at the Think Tank. The Fellows will then present their project findings to the community at the second Simms/Mann Institute Think Tank, scheduled for early 2014.
The 2013-2014 Fellowship Cohort includes an interdisciplinary group of seven Fellows: Beth Rizo, Director, Ellen Stoddard Instructor/Director, Katherine Worsdale, Associate Professor of Associate Degree Nursing Program, and Judy Osterhage, Foster and Kinship Care Education Coordinator, Santa Barbara City College; Kim Karkos, Professor of Child Development, Oxnard Community College in the Ventura County Community College District; Eve Adler, Professor, and Wendy Parise, Faculty, Santa Monica College.
The Simms/Mann Institute is launching its Education Initiative with the first ever Fellowship program and February Think Tank event. The Simms/Mann Institute is highly regarded for a series of ‘firsts’ in healthcare and wellness, notably the Simms/Mann UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, which introduced the concept and term ‘integrative’ into healthcare, and the Venice Family Clinic’s Simms/Mann Health and Wellness Center, the nation’s first health, wellness, and integrative medicine program offered at a free clinic.
Kuhl and colleague Andrew Meltzoff, Ph.D., are special guest presenters at the Think Tank. Expert speakers and participants include Victoria Mann Simms, Ph.D., Carol Karp, M.S., M.Ed., CCC/SLP, and Karen Dean Fritts, Ph.D.
“Bridging the gap between research and practice is of upmost importance to me. It has long been my desire to elevate the importance of 0 – 3 years and how those years can impact the health and wellbeing of our communities for years to come,” said Victoria Mann Simms, Ph.D., Founder and President, Simms/Mann Institute for Education and Community Development. “Community colleges are the training ground for our future workforce, and I am excited for the launch of this innovative partnership.”