Children's first three years, or roughly a thousand days, shape the rest of their lives. It's the only time in their lives when their brains will develop so rapidly and be so moldable. Between 80-85% of their brain architecture is formed, providing what they need later to do well in school, both cognitively and socially.
The First 1,000 Days: Investing in WV Children When It Counts, is a new documentary by West Virginia Public Broadcasting's John Nakashima. It premieres Monday, February 2, at 9 P.M. on WV PBS.
If you are a parent or caregiver challenged by low wages, part-time work or unemployment, you probably won't be able to afford all the best for your children - especially when it comes to childcare. Working hours may severely cut down on the time that could be spent parenting. The stresses caused by low income often add even more complications to parenting.
In West Virginia, a quarter of our children live at or below the federal poverty level. But it's estimated that that number doubles if we look at the families without enough income to get by without public or private support. So roughly half the kids of West Virginia need assistance to help them keep up with other children.
The First 1,000 Days explains the science and techniques that build healthy brain architecture during those early year. We get an insiders look at a few of the publicly supported childhood interventions, including In-Home Family Education, Birth to Three, Early Head Start, and Head Start. We meet families who are changing their children's lives through enthusiastic participation in these interventions. We meet adults who were raised in poverty, and through interventions and building resiliency, went on to earn college degrees. Both of these women chose to work as social workers and advocates for change. And we get in-depth insights from many of West Virginia's leading child development and child poverty experts.