Associate Professor of Communication Jim Coffey, VaPA, who also serves as president of the Rochester Parent Network, served as the post note speaker at the Continuity Conference hosted on April 3 at the School of the Arts. The conference provided a professional development opportunity for pre-K, kindergarten and first grade teachers and focused on being more effective in helping children make the transition from preschool the early grades. The conference was sponsored by RAEYC (Rochester Association for the Education of Young Children), ECEQC (Early Childhood Education Quality Council) the Toy Resource Center, Head Start, Monroe County Library System and the Rochester City School District.
During his remarks, Coffey complemented the conference’s theme of “play” with discoveries in infant brain development, elements of self esteem, relationship building and the arts. Coffey shared that the greatest opportunity to stimulate synaptic growth appears to be in the first three years of a child’s life and is especially responsive when children learn to express themselves in a variety of ways - through movement, music, language and other creative forms. These skills are needed to communicate effectively, achieve intimacy and maintain healthy, rewarding relationships throughout life. Coffey contends that because relationships with others are the source of such great joy in life, the role of play is absolutely critical for a child to reach full human potential.