Archives for posts with tag: brain development

I am very excited to be part of the Film Nights scheme that Connected Baby has started.

Dr. Suzanne Zeedyk, whom I interviewed in my film Babyhood, has set this up to bring groups together to watch films that “offer insights into the power of connection”, and then have a discussion around the subjects raised. Whenever I have shown my film, the discussions afterwards are the most interesting, and I am so pleased this will be happening in September throughout the UK!

Please contact Connected Baby if you want to host a night too!

She has written a great introduction to my film, which flatters me and i want to copy here!!

September’s film is the Award-winning film BABYHOOD, released in 2012.  Made by London-based independent filmmaker Kate Jangra, this documentary film explores the contemporary context in which our society is raising young children

Jangra asks: What might parenting look like in the absence of what she sees as today’s ‘parenting props’ – consumerism, the media, and parenting experts?   The project was born from Jangra’s experience of having her first child, which led her to question herself and everything she had thought of as ‘normal’ up to that point.

The film won the Culture Unplugged’s Award for Film-makers’ Choice – Conscious Art, in 2015.  It was chosen because represented, in the judges’ view, “the film that was most conscious in its selection of story, vision, and art of filmmaking in its ability to awaken global citizens and help them to usher life toward a new direction.”  Who wouldn’t want to see a film that achieves such accolades?!

The film has also received attention for its relevance to professional practice. For example, Canterbury College has licensed it to be shown to students enrolled in courses for working in preschool settings.

The film includes interviews with a range of fascinating commentators:

     Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood;

     Sue Gerhardt, author of Why Love Matters;

     John Carnochan, previous Co-Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit;

     Camilla Batmanghelidjh, Director of charity Kids Company;

     Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, founder of connected baby;

     Hollie McNish, award-winning rap poet.

Come and join us for an opportunity to think in depth about the context in which our babies are growing up.

film-nights-flyer

 I am devastated about Camila and the demise of Kids Company, and it saddens me so deeply to think of the effect this will have on the thousands of children she personally cares about and loves.
Because she does, i believed her when she told me that and it was evident from the way her workers were so committed to Kids Company and the work they do, (I was lucky enough to be shown around and explained the workings of the charity in 2011), and the atmosphere of the building.
I emailed Camila’s office when I was making Babyhood and I wanted to connect the idea that not looking after a child’s needs at an early age affected their brains, and had a detrimental affect on their lives. Camila had extensive experience of this and I persevered and eventually she agreed to a meeting to discuss my ideas for my film.
I was very nervous as she is indeed larger than life and I really felt her connection to the subject matter was so important to the film. However, after we spoke for a while about what i was trying to do she agreed to be filmed, and i was over the moon.12
Her interview was long, although i could have continued for longer as she is so fascinating, but she had more work to do, it was Friday evening, about 8pm. She has/had 3 personal assistants (for the morning, evening and weekend) so she literally devoted her entire life to the work she did at Kids Company, so I just don’t believe any of the media articles telling me otherwise. It is a witch hunt against a public figure unafraid to tell the truth about a very uncomfortable subject for our politicians, and I am going to let Camila explain why in excerpts from my transcripts of her interview for the film below…
“I love the children I work with, and I think they don’t have a voice in society because they don’t vote and therefore politicians don’t prioritize their needs. And when children are being abused often by their own carers, their carers aren’t going to advocate on their behalf either, so i guess i am lucky enough to have won their trust, and to be able to speak out in ways that they educate me to do.
It’s very interesting how people think about vulnerable children, and children in general, politicians on the whole, tend to think about children in the way that matches their own lives, so they make political decisions that are very close to the narrative of their own lives and often its upper middle class type lives with certain givens.
And in some ways, within that context, let’s say parenting classes or information for parents, is useful, but it’s also true to say that they are not a set of parents who need education, and they don’t need information about whether to use the naughty chair or not to use the naughty chair, what they need is a programme of emotional recovery because their inability to parent their children is a result of them not having received the quality of love and care they needed to be able to have a mind that can actually think about another person’s needs, rather than a mind that is trapped in survival.
Politicians are not good at conceptualizing that group, and the other group they are very bad at conceptualizing, are children and young people who have already run away from home and are surviving on the streets and therefore are not parented, and Britain has a large number of these children and young people that it doesn’t admit to.
And their need to survive at street level, is causing havoc for children who are well cared for and don’t wanna be violent.
She went on to tell me about the actual numbers of children who are suffering from abuse in this country and how they aren’t being supported by the system, which is why a charity like Kids Company, where people can literally walk in off the street and ask for help (and invariably get some kind of help) is unique and essential.
I’m appalled at our governments response that Kids Company closed due to “financial mismanagement”. It would be far better to ask why the government wouldn’t make a case to bail out a charity that picked up the huge overspill of children who needed help but aren’t given any by statutory services that exist already.
There are 1.5 million children being abused and neglected in Britain every year.
This is an internationally recognized figure.
The government makes funding available for 86,900.
So there’s a massive discrepancy, and actually if you look at the office of national statistics in the last 10 years, you will find that the child protection statistics are suspiciously consistent.
So last year we have 603,700 children referred to child protection, the bulk of them receive an assessment, (so someone does either a brief assessment or a more detailed assessment), but in the long run only 39,100 children were given a social worker and a plan and because social work departments get fined if they keep a child on that register more than a year, in the end after the year there were only 3,200 children left on that register.
And what you notice, because i have just had someone analyze it all, is that actually this is statistically within the same set of numbers year in year out, which means that our child protection system is not responsive to the needs of children, it is a predetermined number of allowances into which abused children are fitting or being excluded from, and that in essence is the problem, the state doesn’t step in to protect children who have been harmed, therefore children who have been harmed have to initiate their own survival. And that can look ugly.
There is no way to look at what has happened and not feel the significance of the wider picture. These children are being failed by us all. The one place they relied on some help from, has gone, and reading the mainstream media’s narrative, no-one cares about them.  And with that idea floating around a mind that already is “surviving trauma”, what hope can we have of healing these poor troubled amazing children to take part in society and follow the wishes of any individual/community let alone government rather than continue along some unresolved, unsupported, unloved path.

I’m so pleased and proud to say that BABYHOOD has won an Award, after being part of Culture Unplugged Festival.

“To share with you in brief, a different guest panel of visionaries is invited for each festival to watch a small selection of films and identify the film that is most conscious in its selection of story, vision, and art of filmmaking—that awakens the global citizens and helps them usher life toward a new direction. ”

As well as making me literally jump for joy, it has propelled me into my next film with a deep sense of commitment.

This time I want to make a film that looks at childhood, in particular the process of being a child, and how the modern world is stealing so many elements of growing up from our children.

It has grown out of my questioning of the systems in place around schooling. As my 5yr old revels in the wonder of the world around him, I strive to keep that wonderment in place and have chosen not to send him to school.

Schools are testing children at younger and younger ages, and failing children at every level. Nature is being branded as a commodity, along with technology replicating real life experiences.

I want to question all of this and more.

Its complicated.

I will be uploading small clips here soon, let me know if this appeals to you, or if you have a story to tell.

peace and joy x

DVD

I have just made a new batch of DVD’s that are now ready to buy for £9.99 plus P&P. Get them while you can!
email me: katejangra [at] gmail [dot] com

 

What’s the difference between these two brains? – Telegraph.

 

OK – this is scary, and very important. Whatever you might think about these 2 images, it is clear that there is something fundamental being scientifically proven and illustrated.

I want to try to explain it in the terms it was explained to me, that made such an impact on me and the film I ended up making.

When we are born our brains are not developed to the extent they need to be to function as a social being. This “growing” happens from the moment we are born, through the interaction we receive with our carers, specifically our primary care-giver. Our brains need the love and care of a maternal, or paternal carer to connect and grow. This needs to happen from the moment we are born, or some would say the moment we are conceived.

It’s that simple.

This is what makes us go on to live our lives and determines how we function. By the age of 18 months we have learned a HUGE amount about the world and our brains have formed accordingly. If we haven’t felt love our brain literally doesn’t grow, I imagine it is a little like a flower withering. This is tragic.

As Suzanne Zeedyk has said about the debate surrounding this article :

That debate shows us, once again, that it is one thing for us (as a society) to know this information.  It is another thing to think about what it feels like to know this information.  The debate in response to this article gives a very good sense of how unsettling the information can be.

It has made me want to try to define LOVE in those first few months and years. It has made me want to help people, especially mothers, who may not have felt love, to feel it and therefore start to give it to those around them. How does it feel to be neglected like that? It pains me to even begin to imagine how many people haven’t been shown love by each preceding generation. How do we break the cycle?

And most of all for all those babies out there being born every minute of every day, can we start to do our best to show them what Love is?

Ban under-threes from watching television, says study | Society | The Guardian.

It’s been a long time since I found time to blog, but I am compelled after 3 articles have jumped out at me. This is the first – an article espousing the idea of letting your under-three watch TV. I personally agree, and have done my very best to live a screen-free existence with my little one (who has just turned 3 btw). That has meant he has only a brief idea of the joys of technology, however even though I have tried to limit his exposure he LOVES playing on anyone’s phone and can’t help but be drawn to devices whenever an unsuspecting friend gets theirs out of their pocket! He has also watched an animated film or 2 but seldom enough that he doesn’t bug me about watching one when he is bored, for the moment!

I was interested in one of the comments which tries to say the research doesn’t include the recent phenomenon of apps disguised as fun games but really educational programmes, and therefore he was planning on letting his 12month old free use of his iphone. I was particularly interested in this as I can’t imagine anything more sad than a tiny little person with her head stuck to an iphone. I don’t think he has even considered the tantrums he will have on his hands when she is expected to hand back this “toy”. And here ispeak from experience. Whenever my eldest has been exposed to a device of any kind, getting it back from him can almost always cause a huge tantrum. When I am offered strangers phones on trains to help distract my son in the middle of a “mood swing” I turn them down as it is just prolonging the inevitable, when the kind stranger has to leave the train and wants his/her phone back!

And this is the problem, we think we can quick fix everything – including our child’s introduction to this amazing world we live in full of this amazing technology….all the time forgetting that on an evolutionary level we still have stone age brains and we need to learn how to do things through experience… and real life is not conveyed through a device.

I got my first phone when I was 19. It was a great thing. I have some idea of what life was like without being at the mercy of my phone. I would like to allow my child that same freedom. I don’t think that is unreasonable.