How Every Child Can Thrive by Five

Precocious, does not even begin to describe Molly Wright, age 7 from Australia, delivering a TED Talk on early years development! However I highly recommend this snippet of a talk. It is a very digestible summary of some of the important things grown ups can do to help the young children in their care. Using a sweet video of her neighbour’s baby called Ari she unpacks some of the ways grown ups can shape children and the adults they will become.

As she says thanks to scientists, we now know just how important the first five years are for our health and development, especially our brains. Talking about Ari she says he:

started learning long before he was even born, from inside his mommy’s tummy. When Ari was born, he was tiny and he cried all the time. He was always hungry and he pooped a lot. Now he laughs and giggles and makes funny noises. But those are just the changes we hear and see. That’s way more going on inside.

Some key facts from the talk:

  1. The brain doubles in size between birth and five year’s old
  2. The brain can create up to one million neural connections every second
  3. Healthy brain development relies on five fundamentals: connecting, talking, playing, a healthy home and community

The way we can support this learning is through a concept scientists call ‘serve and return’ which in simple language means connect talk and play. Some of easy ways to do this are:

In summary many of the things we do to love our children which seem incidental and unimportant are in fact the most valuable things we can do to build and strengthen relationships and mental health and support our children’s most important life skills from making friends to taking a test.

She finishes off with a compelling call to action:

‘every moment together is an opportunity to connect, talk and play. Imagine the difference we could make if everyone everywhere did this. To us, the children, it’s so much more than just a game. It’s our future. See? Peekaboo really can change the world.’