Child development event set

Published 9:29 pm Monday, May 9, 2016

A free presentation on early childhood development this Thursday should ease the minds of parents of young children who are worried about developmental milestones.

“Sometimes, as parents, we put all these expectations on our children that come from our world,” said Brenda O’Donnell, early childhood development coordinator. “We hope people learn the science behind the expectations and whether they’re reasonable or not.”

The event, titled “Growing Little Brains Workshop: All the Things Parents Worry About … But Don’t Really Need To,” will feature dinner and a presentation by Dr. John Almarode, an assistant professor at James Madison University who has done extensive research on young children and brain development. He has written journal articles, reports, book chapters, and two of his own books, and his work has been presented to federal and state legislators and policymakers.

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“It’s alleviating some of those parental worries that we have, because each child develops differently, not on a timeline from a book,” O’Donnell said. “Parents just have such high expectations for their children, and it’s honestly not appropriate based on brain development. We’re pushing them so fast.”

O’Donnell said the presentation will touch on physical, emotional, social and academic milestones.

She said Almarode knows what he’s talking about from a personal standpoint as well as from his research.

“We’re really excited to bring in Dr. Almarode,” she said. “He has this ability to really connect with people. He’s a parent himself, so he gets it professionally and personally.”

Thursday’s event will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn Chesapeake/Suffolk, 5921 Harbourview Blvd. Dinner and registration are from 5:30 to 6 p.m., with the presentation from 6 to 7. No childcare will be available.

RSVP to Ive Carr at 514-7442 or The event is sponsored by the Early Childhood Development Commission.