Sunday, 24 April 2016 23:33

The Ordinary Magic that can change a child’s future

Written by Ryan Swano
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There is little doubt that poverty hampers early childhood development which in turn affects a child's learning ability as they grow older and usually ends in a child not living up to his or her full potential when they reach adulthood.

Yes, there are many exceptions, but generally the cycle of poverty is repeated from generation to generation when there is no form of intervention which will boost a child's early development.
Without any early intervention, the child is already at a deficit when he or she enters the education system.
What if each of us started our own little intervention?

Imagine what could happen if each of us found a way to help nurture just one child at risk.
Imagine if each of us could be there for an individual child and for their parent(s), in small and practical ways.
It could be something like standing by a mother during pregnancy, bringing a few books and toys into the home of a young baby or telling stories and reading to a group of children every week.
What if each one of us could expose a child to new experiences, for which they might otherwise never get the opportunity, like seeing the sea or visiting the zoo for the first time?

It may may all seem patronising at first and one can't just simply barge into people's lives with goody-two-shoes ideas but it actually makes a lot of sense and it all starts with you and I.
It starts with all of the small differences each of us can make.

The American Psychologist Ann Masten calls it the Ordinary Magic (PDF) that can change a child’s future.

A video recently released by the DG Murray Trust with the title "What will bring about the next real change in South Africa?"  demonstrates how the socio-economic factors which influence a child's early stages of development are still easily identifiable along Apartheid-era divides.
However, instead of looking at all the complicated possible solutions tied to different politcal ideologies, they look at the simplest of contributions we as ordinary citizens can make towards changing our collective future.

The DG Murray Trust is a private foundation which supports initiatives that aim to bring about dynamic and fundamental impact on the lives of people in South Africa. One of their main focus areas is Early Childhood Development.

Though it is by far not all that is needed to bring about large scale societal change, and there are many structural barriers that need to be broken in order for equality to become a reality, we can each be a part of starting that change in our very own communities.

This is not simple wishful thinking.
If we each start our efforts with someone in our own community we live in, with one of our own relatives, or with someone in the community which we originally came from, then spread our efforts to people in neighbouring communities, and all the while spreading the idea of Ordinary Magic, the little pebble we have cast into the pond can become a huge wave of change and that won't be just any ordinary magic.

WATCH: What will bring about the next real change in South Africa?




For more information on the DG Murray Trust, visit the DGMT Website or visit the DGMT Facebook Page.
 

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