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Early Life - The Mayor's Dream

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What goes on inside the brains of babies-and how much are we shaped by the first few years of our lives? Scientists have new insights into how children think, and some claim that by not acting on these discoveries, lives are being wasted.

In the first of the Early Life programs, we visit the Andes where Mayor Amilcar Huanchuari believes that stimulating children's brains early on can make for a more prosperous-and less violent-society. We visit the labs of Boston, MA, where Harvard scientists are trying to determine whether science really is on the Mayor's side. We see how some Kenyan mums have realized that their traditional parenting ways have to change in today's world. And we talk to a young architect in Turkey who believes that her own life proves the Mayor's dream can be a reality.

'I have a dream,' says Amilcar Huanchuari. 'We know that poverty is a product of malnutrition, poor education and poor stimulation. And from this we believe that investment in education, health and nutrition is important, and we believe in the early stimulation of our children. We're convinced we should work with children from the earliest age and we're going to form a new society of children. We'll build a new generation of children. They'll be more successful and prosperous children and they'll contribute effectively towards a peaceful future for our country.'

The Mayor's dream is simple: a better world because every child gets a better start. But does science support his dream? Across the world, evidence on both sides of the debate is mounting up.

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