What happens in the home in the first two years after birth largely shapes whether children are still on track by Grade 4. Public services are essential, but not enough, for a child to grow and thrive.
Many vulnerable children live in households that are economically fragile and socially marginalised. It is these household and family factors – rather than a lack of access to health and social services – that place children at greatest cumulative risk.
Some children manage to thrive, despite these risks and adversity. Part of this characteristic is intrinsic. But it can also be nurtured by the most basic elements of love, care and connectedness. The American psychologist, Ann Masten, calls this the ‘ordinary magic’ that can build the resilience that enables children to succeed.Masten A (2015), Ordinary Magic: Resilience in development. The Guildford Press, New York
There is opportunity to build resilience among children living in poverty by developing parental agency and by creating new ‘social capital’ in vulnerable households. Ironically, it is easier to design public services than to ensure that infants have the basics of love, food, security and stimulation.
We need to find ways to create ‘ordinary magic’ for children who otherwise have little chance of staying on track by Grade 4.
|⇧1||Masten A (2015), Ordinary Magic: Resilience in development. The Guildford Press, New York|
From 2017-2021 we will find ways to provide, and scale, effective support to young children at home by:
Click here to read how we plan to do it.
|Develop and test different models for increasing the social capital of families of children at risk.||Review and refocus Cape Town Embrace to capitalise on its strategic strengths.
Work with the City of Cape Town in promoting it as a ‘City for Children’ – building systems of support and access to opportunity.
Explore other strategies, linked to the zero-stunting campaign, to reduce child vulnerability through social networks and links to other resources.
|Support effective strategies to reduce foetal harm from toxins (especially alcohol and tik).||Fund effective programmes aimed at pregnant women, as well as men, that reduce the harm from foetal toxins in high-risk communities (linked to the zero-stunting campaign).|
|Tackle harsh discipline in the home.||Support an advocacy campaign as part of Love, Play, Talk media campaign to make parents aware of what constitutes harsh discipline and the potential effects on their children.|