Early Life - The Mayor's Dream

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.

'This important series translates our growing understanding of the vital role of early experience in laying the foundation for life-long learning for children growing up in poor communities around the world. It shows how despite poverty, we can combat the effects of deprivation on development and help young children thrive by promoting cost effective and humane early stimulation, attachment, and learning experiences. In this time of increasing globalization, these films bring students of child development and early education into the global community by expanding their vision of the power of child development in promoting the wellbeing of all children. An invaluable resource for programs that aim to integrate an appreciation of cultural diversity and economic and social justice into their courses.' Dr. Diane E. Levin, Professor of Education, Wheelock College, Author, Teaching Young Children in Violent Times

'The Mayor's Dream is an enlightening glimpse into the current science and research of brain development. Young children's interactions, relationships and experiences prove to be necessary for later success. The global perspective is an essential tool for building cultural competence. This focus on the importance of early childhood around the world is very affirming for students entering this exciting profession. An outstanding way to bring the world into the early childhood teacher education program.' Mary Jane Eisenhauer, Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education, Purdue University North Central

'The Mayor's Dream and Kibera Kids films use an exciting clarity and grace to convey the complex and often disquieting message regarding the overwhelming significance of the early years in preparing humans for their best chance at a productive and meaningful lives. The mixed chorus of young and old voices, experts and community leaders, and the lucky and the vulnerable is highly educational and persuasive. I look forward to using them to do just that; to teach and to persuade.' Kyle Pruett, M.D. Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry and Nursing, Yale School of Medicine, author of Fatherneed and Partnership Parenting

'Appropriate for discussions of the social and emotional development of young children through pre-school activities, stimulation, and communication. Recommended for collections in child psychology and child development.' Carolyn Walden, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Educational Media Reviews Online

'[A] strong investigation into child development and culture...The deeper question, explored in this film and the entire series, is, what role does culture play in child development and personality formation--and what type of person do we want to produce in the first place?...Suitable for college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of childhood, and anthropology of education, as well as general audiences.' Jack David Eller, Community College of Denver, Anthropology Review Database


Main credits

Bradshaw, Steve (Director)
Bradshaw, Steve (Screenwriter)
Bradshaw, Steve (Narrator)

Other credits

Music, Audio Network; camera, Ricardo Cabellos ... [et al.].

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

African Studies
At-risk Youth
Child Development
Developing World
Latin American Studies
Middle Eastern Studies
Social Psychology


children, development, neuroscience, parenting, school, behavioral science, Andes, Amilcar Huanchuari, Boston, Massachusetts, Harvard, Kenya, Turkey, poverty, malnutrition; ; "The Mayor's Dream"; Bullfrog Films

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