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News and Opinion May 26, 2020

Pamela Cantor, M.D. Presents on Campaign for Grade Level Reading Webinar

Turnaround for Children Founder and Senior Science Advisor, Pamela Cantor, M.D., was a featured speaker at a webinar hosted by The Campaign for Grade Level Reading. The session, Protecting the Building Blocks of Early Learning: An Urgent Priority, was a special edition of the GLR Learning Tuesdays webinar series.

Dr. Cantor joined Philip A. Fisher, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Translational NeuroScience at the University of Oregon, Elena Rivera, MPH, Senior Health Policy and Program Advisor for the Children’s Institute, and Jacqueline Jones, Ph.D. of the Foundation for Child Development to discuss the potential impact of the coronavirus pandemic and early learning closures on rising kindergartners.

During the webinar, Dr. Cantor explained the “COVID-19 paradox,” in which the physical distancing that keeps us and others safe can threaten the social connections that help us manage stress, grow and learn. Dr. Cantor offered research-based insights and shared The Three Rs – relationships, routines and resilience – which offer ways families, educators and leaders can support children’s emotional well-being today at home and when schools reopen. She encouraged adults to use this time to focus on building strong relationships, establishing routines and developing vital skills and mindsets that help build resilience.

Dr. Fisher showcased a tool he developed called the the Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development – Early Childhood (RAPID – EC). The weekly survey collects real-time data on the unmet needs of over 1,000 households with at least one child under the age of five. Thus far, the surveys have uncovered considerable increases in caregiver stress and decreases in family income. In addition, many respondents have reported challenges paying for basic amenities and delays in seeking healthcare services.

To close, Rivera discussed the importance of health and family support services in addressing learning loss. She explained how the COVID-19 crisis has created an opportunity to “build back better” by holding families at the center, focusing on equity and taking action today.