Celebrating Babies and Toddlers in Children's Week
Celebrating Babies and Toddlers in Children’s Week
By Kerrie Gottliebsen
Children’s Week (21-29th October) is a time when Tweddle celebrate the right of babies and toddlers to enjoy childhood regardless of race, colour, sex, ability, religion, nationality or social origin. Tweddle, a Childsafe Organisation, is committed to the protection of all children attending one of our many programs across the State.
Children’s Week is also a time when Tweddle highlight the need for services, funding bodies, policy makers and practitioners to differentiate the needs of babies and toddlers, specifically in the first 1000 days (conception to a child’s 3rd birthday) when 80% of a child’s brain is developed.
According to the Harvard University, Center on The Developing Child, the interactions of genes and experience shape the developing brain. Although genes provide the blueprint for the formation of brain circuits, these circuits are reinforced by repeated use. A major ingredient in this developmental process is the serve and return interaction between children and their parents and other caregivers in the family or community. In the absence of responsive caregiving—or if responses are unreliable or inappropriate—the brain’s architecture does not form as expected, which can lead to disparities in learning and behaviour. Ultimately, genes and experiences work together to construct brain architecture.
A recent Centre for Community Child Health report titled ‘The First Thousand Days – An Evidence Paper’ reported that more needs to done to help the public understand the significance of the first 1000 days.
From birth to age 18 months, it has been calculated that connections in the brain are created at a rate of a million per second. The earliest experiences shape a baby’s brain development, and have a lifelong impact on that baby’s mental and emotional health.
The World Association for Infant Mental Health (WAIMH) released a position paper on The Rights of Infants to highlight the additional and specific needs of the 0-3 age range. Children in this age group are entirely dependent upon the availability of consistent and responsive care from specific adults for the development of their basic human capacities.
This Children’s Week, Tweddle encourage you to consider the benefits when policies and funding supports babies and toddlers, in addition to children more generally. Significant research now shows that gaps in development appear for babies and toddlers experiencing chronic stress before they turn 2 when they may fall behind in cognitive, language and social-emotional development.
Services like Tweddle’s engage, educate and empower families in the first 1000 days. As part of Children’s Week, Tweddle will be partnering with the Maribyrnong City Council’s Early Years team and other community services at Central West Shopping Centre in Braybrook between 10am and 1pm on Wednesday 25th October. Come down and join in on activities, face painting, balloon twisting, storytime, craft and indigenous activities.
Tweddle are also hosting a Health Professional seminar, ‘Fathers, Babies, Toddlers & Attachment’ on Wednesday October 25th between 9am and midday.
Wyndham Children’s Week picnic on Sunday 22nd October in the beautiful surrounds of Werribee Park, will feature a performance by characters from Despicable Me 3, music, food trucks and puppet-making workshops, a live stage program, a ‘come and try’ Healthy and Active area, a new Arts Experience Zone and a Chill Out Zone.