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KUSA - Hundreds of early-childhood practitioners, advocates, business leaders and policymakers will be in the Colorado Convention Center Friday and Saturday trying to answer one question: How does a child learn?

This is part of the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference (RMECC), which is now in its second year.

In addition to other findings, researchers will discuss the new tools that enable doctors to look inside of a baby's brain, allowing them to analyze how it looks when a child learns a new word, experiences an emotion or hears his or hers mother's voice. This may help doctors diagnose developmental disabilities like dyslexia or autism spectrum disorder.

"This could change children's and parent's and family's lives," Dr. Patricia Kuhl, co-director of the University of Washington's Institute for Learning and Brain Science and a Friday's keynote speaker at the conference, said.

Kuhl says early childhood is a critical period for learning, and that to facilitate it, parents and preschools need to provide a stimulating environment.

Dan Schaller, the director of outreach and operations at the Denver Preschool Program, says the city's preschools are already ahead of the curve.

"Denver has been out in front," Schaller said, adding that 70 percent of Denver's 4-year-olds are now enrollment in some form of preschool.

"Because of the great research that Dr. Kuhl spoke to, we're excited to see the conversation and momentum around the subject and hope to see it continue to expand both here in Colorado and across the country," he added.

During February's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama proposed increasing federal funding to preschool programs.

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