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Life Experience and Healthy Brain Development: Exploring the Essentials
Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and Segal School of Business
Vancouver, BC
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Life Experience and Healthy Brain Development: Exploring the Essentials
This two-part public engagement series is an opportunity to participate in a stimulating dialogue presenting up-to-date information about early childhood brain development and to learn strategies and techniques to help support your community in raising a healthy generation of children.

What is brain architecture, and how does it relate to early childhood experiences? How can communities contribute to healthy brain development in children? These are just a couple of the questions that will be explored in this thought-provoking two-day event, featuring the expertise of Dr. Judy Cameron, Ph.D.

From the time they are born through to early adulthood, children constantly form connections and pathways in their brains.  Pathways formed early create the framework for the child's brain development throughout their life and can be influenced by the child's environment. Despite living in a developed country with an abundance of social programs and a solid education system, many Canadian children grow up facing challenges, such as poverty, that place them at a disadvantage. Negative environmental factors that accompany poverty contribute to stress levels in children, impeding healthy brain development. Research shows that children who experience toxic stresses early in life are at a higher risk later for heart disease, substance abuse, and depression.


Ensuring the healthy brain development of our children is crucial, and creating an environment in which children can build resilience and grow up with strong, healthy brains is the responsibility of the whole community.

***Please note that you must register separately for each day. ***

DAY ONE

A free public lecture will take place at October 12th, 2016, at 7pm, at Simon Fraser University's downtown campus in the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue.

In the lecture, "The Effect of Life Experiences on Brain Development,"
Dr. Cameron will discuss how programs that teach young children social-emotional skills, problem-solving skills and language skills, such as HIPPY, help them develop strong brain circuits that they will benefit from throughout life. She will introduce you to how life experiences shape the architecture of the developing brain, how early life stresses can impact brain development, and how communities can act together to help children participate in activities that will build resilience to life stresses. The long-term benefits to children of positive early life experiences are better school functioning, improved achievement throughout the childhood years, as well as higher productivity in adulthood and better health throughout life.

Following the lecture, a panel of respondents will use their expertise to expand on the key points of the lecture and create an engaging dialogue. The panelists include: Kim Hetherington, Dr. Lucy Lemare and Sanja Sladojevic.

DAY TWO

On October 13th, 2016, Dr. Judy Cameron will deliver a workshop from 9:30am to 2:30pm, at Simon Fraser University's downtown campus in the Segal Building. In the workshop "Understanding How Life Experiences Shape Brain Development: Building Strong Brains, Improving Stress Resilience," Dr. Cameron will use fun, hands-on educational materials to show how the effects of experiences on brain development can be taught to audiences of a variety of educational and cultural backgrounds. Dr. Cameron has developed a series of educational tools that work very well in community settings including hands-on learning activities, animated videos showing how the brain develops, the impact of toxic stresses on brain development and how building strong relationships with children help buffer the impact of stresses. Attendees will have the opportunity to play The Brain Architecture Game (www.thebrainarchitecturegame.com) that teaches how life experiences and social supports that a child has available to them interact to shape the development of the brain. The game will be played in small groups and each group will build a brain and learn first-hand how life experiences (which are drawn from life experience cards) and various social supports in the child's environment combine to influence the development of a childs brain. The last portion of the workshop will focus on how brain development continues through the adolescent years and how these years are particularly important for building neural circuits that help individuals cope with stress throughout adulthood.

PRESENTERS

JUDY CAMERON, PH.D. is a Professor of Psychiatry and the Clinical Translational Science Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. For 10 years she was a member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Early Experience and Brain Development and she is currently a member of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the Scientific Council of the Child Mind Institute. Dr. Cameron's research focuses on the effects of everyday life stresses on long-term health. Areas of interest include the interaction between genetic factors and early life experiences on shaping behavioral development, identification of factors that lead to stress sensitivity versus stress resilience, and effects of exercise on neuroprotection. She has a long-term interest in understanding the interactions between physical health and mental health. Dr. Cameron's newest research initiative is Working for Kids: Building SkillsTM , which is a novel community-based program that teaches the fundamentals of brain development to those who work with children at a community level. This initiative provides a community training program and is evaluating the effect of this intervention on child development as well as health. The program has won innovation awards in Pittsburgh, as well as from the National Science Foundation.

KIM HETHERINGTON, BSc. has been a social worker with the Ministry for Children and Family Development since 1992.  Kim specializes working with children & youth with complex development and care needs as a Provincial Services Branch Practice Development Consultant, a Complex Care Intervention Program Coach and a Trauma Informed Community of Practice Facilitator in the lower mainland.  Kim has completed the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) certification training through the Phase 1 level with Dr. Bruce D Perry and The Child Trauma Academy.  Kim's clinical experience and training provide a strong foundation to support a neurodevelopmental understanding of the critical role that a child's experiences play to shape their developing brain.   Kim frequently provides training and workshops on brain development and trauma to parents, care providers, MCFD staff and service delivery partners in the community.  

LUCY LEMARE, PH.D. is a professor at Simon Fraser University and the Director of the Centre for Research on Early Child and Health Education (CRECHE). Her research focuses are in the area of social and emotional development; the impact of early deprivation on development; early school adjustment in mainstream and diverse (e.g., Aboriginal, immigrant, early deprived, and other) populations.

SANJA SLADOJEVIC has managed, facilitated and created early childhood development programs and services for almost 20 years using her wide multicultural knowledge and experience as well as her skills and sensitivity in relations to children and their parents. She  currently works for Mount Pleasant Family Centre Society where she manages the Circles of Care and Connection (CCC) Early Years Refugee Program. The CCC Program was established in 2009, it provides early childhood development, family support and settlement services to refugee families with children between birth and six years of age.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Early childhood educators, family workers, social service agencies that work with families and children, university students and faculty, and parents themselves. In particular, those who work in organizations that serve disadvantaged populations, such as immigrants, Aboriginal communities, low-income families, and single parents.

PARTNERS

Simon Fraser University
BC Association of Family Resource Programs
Mom to Mom Vancouver

SPONSORS

US Embassy Ottawa
Port Metro Vancouver

Location

Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue and Segal School of Business (View)
580 West Hastings St and 500 Granville St
Vancouver, BC V6B 1L6
Canada


Categories

Education > Workshops

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!

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