SAVANNAH, GA – January 28, 2020 – Greenbriar Children’s Center is hosting a special screening event for the film No Small Matter from 6–8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11 at the Jepson Center for the Arts, Neises Auditorium, 207 W. York Street.
No Small Matter is the first feature documentary to explore the most overlooked, underestimated, and powerful force for change in America today: early childhood education. Through poignant stories and surprising humor, the film lays out the overwhelming evidence for the importance of the first five years of life, and reveals how our failure to act on that evidence has resulted in an everyday crisis for American families, and a slow-motion catastrophe for the country.
Over the last 20 years, a revolution in understanding of early childhood has led to one, inescapable conclusion: the experiences we have in the first five years of life shape our brains and bodies in profound and lasting ways — it’s no longer about “nature versus nurture,” but how the two work together to shape who we become. During those formative years, things like exercise, nutrition, the development of healthy habits, mental stimulation and teaching appropriate emotional responses are essential. Children who are not properly supported during these early years have a greatly reduced chance of being able to develop those facets later in life. Laying a strong foundation and every day, back-and-forth interactions with loving, supportive adults are necessary to build a healthy brain.
And that’s where Greenbriar comes in. Greenbriar currently operates two early childhood education centers, Windy’s Pre-school and W.W. Law Learning Center. The centers are both affordable and high quality, as they have both been awarded a two-star (out of three) quality rating, as determined by the Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning’s Bright from the Start.
Greenbriar began its mission 70 years ago of lending helping hands and bringing hope to the hearts of countless Savannah children. As the nonprofit has evolved since its inception, Greenbriar has established several programs that provide our community’s children and their families with the best possible opportunities for good health and development, right from the start. Greenbriar is working to alleviate the emerging community need for affordable, quality early childhood education through the enhancement and expansion of these services and programs.
Even as experts have come to understand what children truly need to thrive, social, economic, and demographic changes have made it harder for parents to give it to them. In 1950, just 12 percent of all moms with children under age five were in the workplace; today, it’s 65 percent, a huge change, with no equivalent shift in public policy, wages, or attitudes. The stress of America’s approach to childcare takes an enormous financial and emotional toll on families, and it’s all happening while the child’s brain is growing faster than it ever will again.
Higher income parents have more money and time to invest in their children’s early care and education; as a result, children from wealthier families start kindergarten up to two years ahead of low-income children, a gap in opportunity that becomes a gap in achievement, which only reinforces the cycle of poverty. Youth who fall behind in school are more likely to drop out, and high school dropouts are eight times more likely than graduates to end up in prison.
To be optimally effective, early childhood development and education need to be paired with a synergistic emphasis on family counseling and preservation that seeks to provide a healthy and supportive family environment. If the community plans to stop the cycle of poverty, lack of productivity, and a lack of people fulfilling their potential, early childhood must be approached at the root of the issues, as Greenbriar Children’s Center does.
“We urge the Savannah community to come together to view this enlightening film and join Greenbriar in becoming champions for our local youth and their families,” said Greenbriar’s Executive Director Gena Taylor. “It is a chance for community members to be part of a national conversation recognizing and addressing the critical nature of early childhood development.”
The screening is free and open to the public; refreshments will be provided. After the showing, there will be allotted time for reflection and discussion.
Greenbriar Children’s Center is a nonprofit organization that promotes the healthy development of children and the strengthening of families through services provided. These services include emergency shelter, independent living, family preservation, early childhood education and care, and Project Safe Place.
To learn more about Greenbriar Children’s Center and its history, please visit www.greenbriarchildrenscenter.org or call 912-234-3431.
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