“If you want 1 year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want 10 years of

A documentary, multimedia project
and public engagement campaign
California Newsreel
500 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
“If you want 1 year of prosperity, grow grain.
If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees.
If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.”
- Chinese Proverb
“It is easier to build strong children
than to repair broken men.”
- Frederick Douglass
“Evidence is rarely if ever sufficient by
itself to catalyze political action.
“In political terms, what might be at
least as crucial as the evidence itself is the
‘story’ in which it is embedded.”
- World Health Organization’s (WHO)
Commission on the Social Determinants of Health
Some Strengths and Absences
• Individual-based, but not population-based work
• Targeting services to those most in need, but
not structural racism, nor the larger policies and
social and economic arrangements
• Importance of life-course, social determinants
and equity increasingly acknowledged, but not
yet integrated into work.
Strengths & Absences - 2
 Value and benefits of early care and pre-K
promoted, but the voices of children and
teachers not often spotlighted.
 Pre-natal care, but little pre- or interconception care.
 Growing emphasis on return on
investment (ROI), but that resonates
more with policy makers than the public.
Strengths & Absences - 3
 Trainings include toxic stress, but more rarely
link stressors to neglected neighborhoods, the
larger socio-economic environment, nor their
patterning by class and race.
 Conduct education and trainings, but little
public / community leadership development.
 Strong research, but ‘translation’ efforts are
Strengths & Absences - 4
 ECD seen as a school readiness
issue, but not as vital to a safer,
happier, more productive, more
prosperous and more equitable
Conventional Frames and
Mental Models
Personal Responsibility and ‘Right Choices’
The Self-Determining Individual
Dysfunctional Cultures
The ‘Family Bubble’
Sovereign Rights of Parents
Conventional Frames - 2
Sovereign Rights of Parents
The Imperiled Child
Narrow interpretation of Development
Kids are Naturally Resilient
DNA is Destiny
Conventional Frames - 3
The Problem is ‘Those’ Children, Not ‘Us’
Exceptionalism and Denial
Childcare Isn’t about Child Development
Government is the Problem
Ignorance of Effective Initiatives
Elements of a New ‘Story’
• The stakes are high
• Relationships and early experiences build the
foundation for lifelong physical, cognitive and
socio-emotional health
• A safe, stable and stimulating environments is
• Take a life-course perspective
New ‘Story’ – 2
• Health begins with the well-being of the mother
even before conception
• DNA is NOT destiny
• Avoid a new determinism
• Brain plasticity decreases over time
• Strong Communities are the Foundation for
Health Children
New ‘Story’ - 3
• Widen attention from negligent parents to the
negligence of society
• Focus not on unequal outcomes but the
inequities that drive those outcomes
• Make it political
• Racism not Race
New ‘Story’ - 4
• Invest now or pay more later
• Inspire hope and communicate possibility
• Make ECD an “us” issue
“The message needs to be something simple.
Complex is hard to do.
So herein lies the problem:
this is a highly complex issue that we are trying to
- Byron Egeland
Univ. of Minnesota
Appeal to Common Sense
1. How do we impel a sense of urgency?
2. What models / stories / metaphors can best
rupture the family bubble / mentalist frame?
3. How best to focus on the mundane 1000 cuts and
not just the trauma of abuse and extreme neglect?
4. Chronicle the stories of individuals, with all their
peculiarities, in a show about the conditions and
outcomes of populations, i.e., averages.
Challenges - 2
5. How do we make this an “us” issue yet
underscore the special adversities faced by the
poor, especially poor communities of color?
6. How do we underscore the importance of early
origins yet not give rise to a new determinism?
7. Rather than focus on mitigating the impacts of
poverty, how might we challenge poverty and
structural racism itself ?
On Line Learning Center
1. The Documentary
2. Learning Modules
3. Learning Objects
4. The Digital Platform
Sample 10-20 min. modules
• Beyond the 'Family Bubble': How Community
Environments Shape Opportunity Structures
• Building Resilience from Start to Finish: A Life
Course Perspective on Health and Well-being
• Fight Crime: Invest in Kids
• The Geography of Opportunity: Segregation,
Place and Child Health
• Making Work Pay: Balancing Work Life and
Family Life
Sample 10–20 min. modules - 2
• Nature and Nurture: DNA Is Not Destiny
• A Nurturing Child Environment: Safe, Stable
and Stimulating
• A Short History of Childhood
• Strengthen America: The Social and Economic
Benefits from Investing in Children
Sample 10-20 min. modules - 3
• Tackling Inequality: Supporting Children by
Transforming Their Communities
• Toxic Stew: The Impact of Poverty, Racism and
Adversity on the Developing Brain
• Who’s Minding the Kids? Accessible,
Affordable and Quality Daycare
• A Womb With a View: Maternal Health and
Child Outcomes
Perhaps it takes a child
to raise a village