On March 12, The Urban Child Institute will host our annual Brain Awareness Night. This year the topic will be literacy and language development in the early years, and we are pleased to welcome Dr. J. Helen Perkins as one of our two speakers. For Dr. Perkins, a professor at the University of Memphis, interest in literacy began at an early age.

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Our annual Brain Awareness Night will take place at The Urban Child Institute. This year’s invited speakers are nationally known experts who will spotlight the importance of early literacy and language development in our children’s first years. Helen Perkins, Ed.D., from the University of Memphis and Daniela O’Neill, Ph.D., from the University of Waterloo (Canada) will be joining us for this special evening.

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At The Urban Child Institute we place great value on data, because it can shape our local agenda, inform strategies, inspire advocacy, and drive action. Ultimately, that is the purpose of this year’s compendium of data and information about the lives of the children of Memphis and Shelby County: Off To A Good Start: Social and Emotional Development of Memphis’ Children.

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Our newest publication, Off to a Good Start: Social and Emotional Development of Memphis’ Children, demonstrates that children who grow up in environments that support social and emotional development have better coping skills, more self-esteem, and healthier relationships.

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As parents and caregivers, we want to create environments that help our children reach their fullest potential. We pay attention to their "firsts", chart their length and weight, and keep track of diapers and feedings. But there are also other things we can pay attention to that will ensure our little ones are progressing along the right path.

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Can your baby feel or imagine another person’s emotions? Is your toddler capable of showing sympathy for others? Some people think that kids don’t develop these abilities until after the age of three. But it isn’t true. From the beginning, babies show a remarkable sensitivity to our emotional cues, and, with our support, they can develop some pretty impressive empathic skills.

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