A flexble early-childhood mental health, education & development program to ensure UNDER 5's received story music & 2nd language exposure during the brain's period of highest plasticity.
Problem: Despite consensus on brain plasticity and early childhood, mandatory education (meaning fully funded, facilitated & enforced) begins after the age of five. This was established in an age where participation required gathering geographically away from the parent. New technologies allow a rethink of the optimal times for a mandatory focus on development.
content: a fun hub of music language kindergym games and storytelling for the kids designed as an adjunct to their home experiences. Bundled with a range of workshop topics for the parent /guardians,which may be valuable as practical advice as well as providing continuity, credit points and cross-validation between the hard sciences and tacit maternal applied sciences.
form & delivery:
logistical details would aim at remaining responsive to the limitations of managing the age range. However we structure our lives around compulsory school hours and if ever required, medical regimes, SO such a commitment can be sensitively designed.
Mandatory - this is to ensure resources respect and priority by community state and society. That it is compulsory not a privilege recognises the neuro science and our social responsibility to apply it. flexible delivery- it could be fulfilled by credit points gained through independent sources in lieu as demonstrated by practicum or assessment. At a minimum one or more 2-4 week part time workshops to be undertaken anytime in the first fiVe years. Visiting faciLitators, regional groups and internet would ensure universal access The program would provide employment to a range of artists health workers and educators. Ideally the expectation would be sustained low frequency group contact with family member present structured to encompass support and study modules for young parents alongside their child tailored to their capacity - eg health, home management communication and nutrition for inexperienced parents to neuroscience, politics, gender studies or epidemiology tutorials ( in collaboration with other institutions ) to keep the adult brain lubricated between months of nappies and baby talk.. Exemptions would allow skilled parents to teach a module instead of take one. (for example a high court judge may teach a unit on the Hague convention while his / her child sings the periodic table will the other kids.) Non-pedagogical - As children sessions would be workshop exposure not lesson/learning oriented different levels of development between kids would not be at issue. (If seen only as skill development it could be argued that a privileged child doesn't need this support but 1.) it is ensuring contact with a diverse community outside the hermetically sealed subculture of the parents to build a mnltutiered community rather than preserve class silos 2.) The same argument could be applied to primary school but general consensus accepts that mandate. 3.) the language music base allows the program to always be able to offer something unique. For privileged children it may constitute a tiny extra community social experience although the broadening social experience may also mitigate the effect of absent professional career parents. For the underprivileged however it may be a game change closing the gap between those with and without pre school-age brain developing opportunities. It is far easier to go it alone later or self-navigate back to a thread established under 5 years old,
Tradeoff - Shifting the Compulsory Years from Teen to Toddler:
i originally envisaged a more sustained program proposing that this period be traded against some of the existing compulsory years around puberty when academic concentration is compromised by hormone signals. If the brain is well wired in childhood it may well cope better with taking time off to during puberty. That version would be a harder sell, and may be a follow on stage to work towards.