I-LABS Reaches Thousands Attending National Training Institute

I-LABS scientists and outreach staff presented their work at the 30th annual National Training Institute, held Dec. 2-4 and attended by nearly 3,000 early childhood practitioners, researchers, policymakers and others in the early learning field.

The national non-profit Zero to Three organizes the NTI meeting, being held this year in Seattle.

"The next decade is going to be the decade of the baby," Matthew Melmed, executive director of Zero to Three, said as he introduced I-LABS co-directors Dr. Andrew Meltzoff and Dr. Patricia Kuhl who gave the Dec. 4 science plenary at the meeting.

Kuhl and Meltzoff's plenary was titled "Minds, Brain, and How Babies Learn: From Infants to Society." To a full conference ballroom, they discussed highlights of their research of baby brain development and how young children learn. And, as shown in photo at right, they answered questions from attendees.

To another standing-room only audience, I-LABS outreach director Sarah Lytle co-led the session "Science, Practice, and Culture in Early Language Learning." Attendees remarked on the importance of using science-based practices and noted the challenge it can be in effectively communicating science to families with young children.

"Find the scientist in everyone, help make a brain building classroom with your data," one attendee of Lytle's session commented on Twitter.

Then in a poster presentation, Lytle and Jane Hu and Amelia Bachleda -- both I-LABS outreach specialists --  shared their expertise in communicating scientific knowledge through online resources. The I-LABS Outreach Team walked NTI attendees through some of the processes involved in creating the I-LABS online training modules, which are free online resources that distill early learning research findings and use storytelling and tailored messages to explain research in a way that is accessible and useful to parents, educators and others in early learning.

Finally, to encourage early learning practitioners to communicate their expertise, I-LABS organized a session "Early Learning in the News." Molly McElroy, I-LABS communications and marketing manager, discussed best practices in working with the media. And Lytle, who frequently participates in media interviews, shared examples and tips from her experiences.

To get more updates from the NTI meeting, follow I-LABS on Twitter (@UW_ILABS) and the hashtag #NTI2015.