Brain Matters explores the reasons why some children are able to achieve their full potential later in life while others may dwell in disappointment and failure. When is the precise moment and to what extent is a child's future pre-determined during these early years, and how can we pull together to guide them in the proper direction before it's too late? The film considers a variety of factors in its attempt to reach a concrete diagnosis, including environmental factors, intelligence, economics, education and genetics.
The first few years of a child's life are the most crucial to establishing routines of learning, interpreting and relating to the world. Scientific studies conclude that children who were reared with a solid educational foundation were many times more likely to graduate from college, find higher paying jobs and enjoy a life of happiness and fulfillment. Preparation for kindergarten can even begin in the crib.
Science also informs the tenants of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) movement that have been embraced across the globe. These include responsive parenting, emotional and intellectual engagement, nutrition and the establishment of healthy habits.
The film examines the conclusions of several groundbreaking research projects, including one 50-year study that outlined the effects of economic status on a child's ability to learn. In addition to disclosing these fascinating findings, the film's panel of child development specialists and neuroscientists reveal a series of helpful tips for parents who want to ensure the healthiest and most productive future possible for their offspring.
We learn that children flourish when there is consistent communication between parent and child, when they are instilled with an early appreciation of language, and when they are allowed periods of constructive play time. Children who learn to play music also form more cerebral connections that prove valuable later in life.
Other topics of interest include the balance between instant gratification and discipline and the benefits of teaching responsible and dignified conflict resolution skills.
Brain Matters is a well-produced and insightful look at the factors that make our children thrive. It should be considered essential viewing for all parents and educators.
Directed by: Carlota Nelson