Experiences in early childhood last a lifetime. We know this because many studies have already shown that 90% of brain development happens before a child turns five.
Because the brain is extremely malleable at this point in a child’s life, their experiences, nutrition and overall well-being in their first five years will serve as the foundation of their learning and development later in life. Thus, it is important that young children are raised in an environment that is nourishing, responsive and safe, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.
Despite its importance, we have learned in the course of our work with many communities in the country that early childhood care in the Philippines is often neglected. For instance, statistics show that 30% of Filipino children under five years old are stunted due to malnutrition and undernutrition. The lack of proper nutrition affects not just the physical growth but also the cognitive and emotional health of children because there is a strong connection between the gut and the brain. These issues are further exacerbated for children in poor communities; these children are exposed to the stress of their caregivers and teachers, who are often pushed to prioritize work over family care. These mental health issues affect the brain architecture of young children.
In line with this vision, the Knowledge Channel has developed and supported various initiatives for effective early childhood care. As we shared with all of you in the last issue, we recently launched “I Love You 1000,” our video series on nutrition and health for children and their mothers during the first 1,000 days of a child. Last year, we launched TalkED, a once-a-month online educational show where experts are invited to address important issues on early childhood development (ECD). Some topics we covered for the past year include whole child development through play, positive discipline and growth mindset. We continue to acquire and create various shows that are relevant to ECD, such as “Dok Ricky, Pedia” and “Musikantahan.” Additionally, in partnership with Power of Zero we produced the Filipino versions of their “Heroes of Zero,” an anti-bullying series for young children. To support the teaching and learning from these shows, we launched the Knowledge Channel’s trainings of barangay child development center workers and teachers in both virtual and face-to-face modes on key topics such as the Filipino child, 21st century teaching, national education learning framework, growth mindset and the effective use of technology in education for young learners, among others.
We at the Knowledge Channel Foundation continuously learn and seek to better understand our stakeholders. Within the next two months, we will be conducting immersion activities for the staff and board of trustees. We will be visiting not only public schools in our partner communities but also child development centers, so that we will all gain a deeper understanding of our stakeholders—young Filipino children, their families and their teachers.
(Story/Photos by:Rina Lopez)