Last update: 08-Dec-2013 4:55 am
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Investment in child development is essential
I received an e-mail last week from an enlightened local businessman which he had copied from the Financial Times, not exactly a paragon of left-wing or liberal social thinking. The article was entitled “How to Raise a Winning Child” and dated July 6, and it’s by a guy called Simon Kuper. The highlight of the article was that:”Skills learned in early childhood tend to translate into higher incomes and the avoidance of jail.” Hear what he writes: “Wonks worldwide are getting excited about something called ‘early childhood development.’ It’s a rare thrilling new idea that appeals to both right and left. It’s a set of policies that can give a Pakistani peasant baby an only somewhat worse start in life than Britain’s future monarch.”
Two newish (I have been writing in the Guardian about them for the last ten years) findings are at the back of his statements. Neuroscience suggests that the brain is most malleable before the age of three and that the primary influence on a child’s life is parenting. More, parenting probably outweighs genes, money and school and it matters most before the child turns three. And it’s simple. Speak to your child a lot; read to them, sing with them (in the Caribbean we instinctively do this), sit on the floor when you play with them, feed them healthy stuff (that starts at birth, by one year bad habits are engrained). Don’t beat them, because violence shapes the young child’s brain towards violence. Towards what end?
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