Monday, January 25, 2016

What Can We Do to "Raise America" Right?

Why do we, as a nation, make it so hard for our children to thrive?

How can we do better?

These questions are what the documentary "The Raising of America" pose to thousands each time it airs on KBTC public television.

Recent studies underscore repeatedly how a child’s earliest surroundings and interactions shape the developing brain, building the foundations for life-long emotional, intellectual and even physical health and development. Exposure to a nurturing or adverse environment in the early years affects how we think, feel and relate to others as we age, our capacities for empathy, impulse control and even love.

When parents are pressed for time, money and resources, their babies pay the price. Child well-being in the U.S. has fallen to 26th out of 29 rich nations. An increasing number of children grow up with learning, behavioral and physical health challenges. But our kids’ health is not all that’s at risk, researchers argue. By squeezing young families and under-investing in early childhood we are also under-developing America. If we want children to do better in school and in life—and the nation to prosper—we can’t wait until they enter kindergarten.

The studies are many, they are strong and they are persuasive. Yet little or no popular media until now have translated these scientific findings into a compelling new story capable of changing the way parents, practitioners, policy makers and the public think about society’s responsibilities and interest in these first crucial years. The conventional default explanations of child development—good vs. bad parents, genetics and cultural dysfunction—still predominate. Perhaps not coincidentally, little progress has been made in improving outcomes for America’s children.

Tune in

"The Raising of America" is set to air in our part of the country on KBTC (a PBS affiliate) on February 2, but the series has been available online in the past here:

If you are in the Thurston County area on January 27, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., DEL, KBTC Public Television, and Visions of Early Learning are hosting a screening event and special panel.

The event will take place at ESD 113 - 6005 Tyee Dr. SW. (Thurston Room). Tumwater, WA 98512. 

Panelists include:
  • Ross Hunter, Director of Washington State Department of Early Learning
  • John Wiesman, Secretary of Health- Washington State Department of Health
  • Jon Tunheim, Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney
  • Gretchen Thaller, MSN, RN., Coordinator Maternal Child Health/Supervisor Nurse Family Partnership- Thurston County Public Health and Social Services
Join us for this special screening followed by a panel discussion about how we can support early learning in our communities! Register for the free event here: Thurston Raising of America.

Content for this post is courtesy of, DEL and KBTC public television.

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