eMessage Archive

Expanding our view of children and spaces: 360° Video November 19 2018

Children often charm and surprise with their thoughts, ideas and imaginative play scenarios, which can take some unexpected turns and fantastic plot twists. In fact, sometimes the things children say and do leave us scratching our heads in wonder: that is they challenge us and leave us to wonder “why”. Why did the child say/do that? Why did a situation in which two children are tugging a toy between them come to be? We may not always have a complete picture.
360° video is a new tool that the SECD team is excited to introduce as part of our multimedia inventory. As a tool that allows the viewer to follow the action, 360° video potentially expands our view of events over time and space.  
The featured video below was filmed outdoors of the Kittiwake Children’s Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, using special equipment that allows for 360° viewing. As you watch, use your cursor, or finger on a track pad, to rotate the angle. Follow the children as they fill watering cans with water. Where do they go? What might they be trying to accomplish?
What applications can you think of for your context? When you think of the potential for 360° video in relation to your context, is there something that you have been wondering about that might benefit from an expanded view?
N.B. Internet Explorer and many versions of Safari do not allow 360° viewing so you will have to use an alternate internet browser to see this properly (e.g., Firefox, Chrome).
This video is found in the SECD North American Edition in Communicating and Learning, p. 3.2.

Fairness, equity and action July 18 2018

From a young age, children have a strong sense of what is fair. Often, when children witness something that is unfair, they do not hesitate to act on their own behalf, or on the behalf of others. “That’s not fair!” is a common refrain, even among young children.

Equity is a deeper, more nuanced concept of fairness that takes disparities or inequalities into account before action takes place. Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta, at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan often uses an image of earth to begin a discussion on the disparities and inequalities of our world. Watch the first video below and listen as he explains the difference between the terms inequality and inequity. Bhutta makes the point that “inequity is an unjust inequality”.
Around the world, actions at different levels--from individual and grassroots community efforts to government priorities and policies—work to address inequities that exist. In the second video, Dr. Martin Guhn, from the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) in the School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columba, reflects on inequity, child poverty, and the power of research to motivate communities to act.
What actions are you involved with or aware of in your community or region? What are some outcomes? How do these actions and outcomes relate to the concepts of equity and fairness?

New content in the SECD April 12 2018

The online format of Science of Early Child Development means we can regularly make updates to the content. Then, every license holder automatically has access to the new information.

New content in the SECD – International Edition includes video footage of children in a variety of settings in Kenya and Mozambique, for example, intimate scenes of children and adults reading books, as well as interviews with experts on a variety of topics from antenatal care and maternal depression to family interventions and rights-based programming.

Listen as Oscar Kadenge, Child Rights and ECD Multi-Sectoral Coordination, UNICEF-Kenya, describes a human rights-based view of child development and child care programming (3:05). This video is in the International Ed, Ecology of Childhood module, p. 1.2 “A child rights” perspective”.

The newest additions in the SECD - North American Edition include engaging footage of children involved in the serious business of negotiating roles, as well as interviews on the topics of risky play, the engagement of, and resources for fathers, and some key findings of  the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI) about the well-being of older children.

In the second video (1:59), also related to the topic of child rights, Barbara Kaiser, early childhood consultant, author and speaker, explores child guidance, specifically the role of the adult as teacher in response to inappropriate or challenging child behaviours. This video is in the North American Ed. Communicating and Learning, p. 3.1, “Guiding and teaching”.

How do the perspectives of Kadenge and Kaiser inform our work?

For a complete list of our latest content and where to find it, check out the SECD new content page at https://www.scienceofecd.com/pages/new-content. More updates coming soon!


January 2018 - Temperament & "The Match" February 23 2018

Temperament is an individual difference that influences how we react to situations, interactions and environments. It includes things like activity level, impulsivity, sensitivity and the ability to focus attention. Even identical twins who have identical genes and share the same family and home environment, have different ways of acting and interacting with their world. Understanding temperamental differences has a tremendous impact on caregiving and teaching, as it helps to make sense of children’s feelings and actions.

As parents/caregivers, we also need to consider the influence of our own temperaments and personalities when interacting with children. Does our temperament match or not match the child’s temperament, and then, in each case how might that affect how we interact?

In the first video, you will meet identical twins, Brooke and Leah, who tend to approach life in very different ways. Consider the importance of being aware of each girl’s temperament when interacting with these two children.

In the next video, Dr. Joan Durrant, Child-Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor of Family Social Sciences, University of Manitoba, describes temperament and the importance of parents/caregivers understanding “the match” between themselves and the children that they support.

Have you ever experienced a “mismatch” between your temperament and that of a child? Were you able to accommodate the difference?
For more information about temperament and child-caregiver match check out SECD’s Coping and Competence module.

December 2017 - Ecology of Childhood January 12 2018

Children grow up surrounded by people, places and events that shape their daily lives and future prospects – and everyone’s experience is unique. Consider the various geographical, cultural, sociopolitical and economic conditions that exist around the world. Though their contexts may be very different, children can survive and thrive in widely different circumstances. In fact, humans are the only creatures that can adapt to almost any environment.

The following slide show features images of children from around the world, from Afghanistan to Uganda. As you enjoy the images, consider the wide ranging different circumstances of children’s lives around the world. What opportunities are available and what challenges are present? How are families supported in your context?
In the video, the late Dr. Clyde Hertzman describes some factors that can support families and children. What could these factors mean for a child’s daily life in your context?

View slideshow

October 2017 - Resilience December 04 2017

Resilience refers to the capacity to withstand or bounce back after a challenging circumstance. Individuals may be resilient and so too can systems, such as a family or economic system. Why are some resilient while others are seemingly not? Is resilience a constant capacity or does it fluctuate?

Dr. Ann Masten, a leading expert in resilience research from the Child Development Institute at the University of Minnesota, studies children and families who do well in the face of adversity. In the first video below, Dr. Masten describes the concept of resilience.

Researchers have found families can enhance resilience in children by using available resources in particularly effective ways, for example, combating malnutrition by adding available small shrimp and/or sweet potato greens to children’s meals. Identifying those families in a community that flourish despite the same risks and determining what they are doing differently that contributes to their success is a ‘positive deviance’ approach to addressing the issue.

In the second video, Agostinho Mamade, former Program Manager/Senior Education Officer, Aga Khan Foundation, Mozambique, shares an example of positive deviance in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. He explains that only a very small portion of the grade five students were in the right grade for their age. Researchers investigated and found five supports for academic progress that distinguish these students from the others. For example, having an adult who can help with schoolwork and access to books in the home. Can you speculate about what other supports these researchers identified?

Are you aware of examples of positive deviance in your community or region? If so, are there lessons that can be extrapolated from those examples to support other children and families?

September 2017 - Praise October 20 2017

Surrounded by wooden blocks, a four-year-old builds a series of towers. She appears focused and determined to make a tall, stable structure. An adult walks by, notices the construction and says, “Good job!” The adult is pleased by something, but what exactly?

Even though it may be well intentioned, this type of praise is general, without specific information. It does not provide meaningful feedback for the child to be able to gauge why her/his action is “good” beyond the adult liking it. Additionally, the validation in this case comes from outside the child, and is based on the values of the adult--that which the adult holds to be good.

Listen as Dr. Jean Clinton, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, points out that the use of praise reflects an “image of the child” that views children as needing to look outside of themselves for acceptance and fulfillment – and that the role of the adult is to mold the child with verbal rewards. She then contrasts praise with encouragement and the concept of “growth mindset”  (a term coined by Carol Dweck) with which children understand that their effort and how they feel about their effort is what is important.

Reflect on your image of the child. How does your image affect the way that you talk and listen to, plan for, and interact with the children in your context? What are some ways that you recognize and encourage children?

In the second video, a boy in a busy classroom is intently building with blocks. Consider how this boy might react if an adult walked by and said, “Good job!”

June 2017 - Social determinants of health September 15 2017

Social determinants of health is the concept that our health can be affected by social factors, such as the contexts into which we are born and in which we live. Social determinants may be positive, that is they may contribute to and support health, or they may be negative, ultimately undermining health.

The context of a family--where they reside, how they function, and under what conditions—has direct effects on the health of a child within that family. Family socioeconomic status, for example, may directly affect the developing child positively if finances are ample, or negatively if finances are constrained. Beyond the immediate context of family lay the wider contexts of community, region and country, each ultimately affecting family and child health and well-being.

In the first video, Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta from the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan addresses social determinants linked to newborn and child survival outcomes in a low-income country.

The second video highlights the integrated, community-based ECD Parenting Programme established by the Human Development Programme at the Aga Khan University, Pakistan, to assess and improve early child development in several communities. 

Consider the social determinants in your community or context. What might be some of the negative influences? What would you identify as having a positive influence on children and families?
Red River College University of Toronto AKDN - Aga Khan Development Network