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Nationally Recognized Parent Education Authors Present inQuincy at Thomas Crane Public Library

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December 18, 2017
Quincy hosts Symposium to promote importance of early childhood literacy and reducing screen time.
On December 13th, more than 40 local leaders convened at Thomas Crane Public Library to discuss the importance of early childhood literacy and reducing screen time with nationally recognized speakers on the topics. The speakers were Jean C. Fahey, PhD, Author, and Director of Reading Partnership at South Shore Health System and Jean Rogers, M.S.Ed, Author, and Screen Time Program Manager at the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC).  Participants received a signed copy of Fahey’s self-published story guide, “Make Time for Reading” which is her signature tool for caregivers of children under the age of five.  In addition, 12 local agencies hosted resource tables at the symposium to share current programming opportunities and best practices. 
“The Quincy Literacy Symposium provided the opportunity for key stakeholders in our Quincy community to come together and share best practices about how we can promote literacy and the love of reading with our children and families,” said Laureen Browning, Vice President of Youth Development at the South Shore YMCA. She continued, “The presentations and resource tables provided reflection to continue our work at the South Shore YMCA in building foundations of successful childhood experiences for families.”
Fahey’s presentation consolidated research on brain development of children newborn through preschool and included a reading of her book. In October 2016, she was named Toyota Family Teacher of the Year by the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL). Regarding the symposium, she said, “Quincy is a trail blazer. I would love to see more cities follow suit and create Literacy Forums.”
Rogers manages the Children’s Screen Time Action Network and the annual Screen Free Week celebration at CCFC. She creates resources and programs for parents, educators and healthcare professionals to reduce children's screen time and promote creative play. She is author of the book, Kids under Fire, and has provided workshops in the past called the “Kids Media Diet.” Her presentation touched on the numerous concerns and research that practitioners currently working to reduce Screen Time arrive at this topic including: vision, low academic performance, executive function, internet addiction, nature deficit, social-emotional, sleep disturbances, childhood obesity, ADHD, and brain development. The Children’s Screen Time Action Network will host the very first conference dedicated to reducing children’s screen time in April of 2018 at Wheelock College.
“I applaud the planning department for highlighting this topic,” said Sarah Morrison, Executive Director of Quincy After School Child Care. She continued, “I wish that every adult who touches the life of a young child could have attended this Workshop to learn more about fostering early literacy and limiting harmful exposure to digital media.”
The local organizations who hosted resource tables to provide information on current programming and best practices included: Thomas Crane Public Library; Quincy Family Resource Center; Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center;  Quincy Community Action Programs, Inc.; Quincy After School Child Care, Inc.; Prison Book Program; South Shore YMCA; Decoding Dyslexia-MA; Blue Hills Healthy Families; Teens With Tots; Quincy Commission on the Family Parent Child Home Program; Massachusetts Department of Early Education & Care; and Stand for Children MA.
The high-energy symposium was a success with a goal to connect and engage more agencies in planning together as a community and as individual organizations how to improve literacy outcomes in Quincy and surrounding communities. The event, in partnership with the Thomas Crane Public Library, was coordinated by Melissa Pond of Quincy’s Department of Planning and Community Development and made possible with funding from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The CDBG program allocates grants to develop decent housing, a suitable living environment, and opportunities to expand economic development, principally for low-and-moderate income persons. 
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Pictured: Event organizer, Melissa Pond (middle), Quincy Planning Department with event speakers and their published works, Jean Rogers (left), Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and Jean C. Fahey (right), South Shore Health Systems
Christopher Walker, Policy Director