August 15, 2020  (Web Review)

No Small Matter

(2018) 73 min. DVD: $24.95, Oct 2020. Amazon.

Reviewer rating: 2.5/4

No Small Matter refers to the significance of brain development in infants, toddlers, and preschool children.  Directed by Danny Alpert, Greg Jacobs, and Jon Siskel, this film conveys the importance of attending to the early growth of children’s brains.  Brain research shows that major connections are made in the brain at an early age and the brain learns at its fastest rate during these early years.  After age three the brain begins to drop connections it is not using, so it is significant to focus on maximizing the brain’s capacity to grow and develop at the earliest age. Parents are the child’s first and best teacher. Societal changes over the last forty years mean both parents are working and children are being raised by other individuals, and  there are vast differences in the quality of child care programs. The film points out that higher income families can afford exceptional child care from accredited institutions, while lower income families do not have the same option; this can affect learning progress as children grow to adults. No Small Matter presents notable programs that are taking the initiative for positive change. The Abecedarian Project in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and the Advance Group in Waco, Texas offer excellent child care programs to at-risk families. The Department of Defense also provides first-rate child care for its families.  Bringing together information from doctors, researchers, and early childhood educators, this documentary makes a strong case for policy change that supports healthy brain development and high-quality early childhood education for children.  Strong optional.  Aud: H, C, P. (T. Root)