Before I go any further with this blog, I must encourage you to rent this movie!
It is a documentary that follows four babies in different parts of the world– from birth to walking: Hattie in San Francisco, Bayar in Mongolia, Mari in Tokyo, and Ponijao in Namibia.
It is a documentary, but it is not narrated! You learn how they live by watching them live, without anyone telling you what is it you’re seeing.
I would love to hear your observations after you see it!
I have watched it several times and always thoroughly enjoy it. One time I watched with a group of Montessori school teachers who made a very interesting observation– they observed that the baby in Namibia (Ponijao) seems to gain great competence and confidence earlier than the babies from the industrialized countries.
One also notes that Ponijao has much greater freedom to move about and explore than the children in Japan and the US.
If this observation is right, it gives more support for the idea that babies develop better if we let them DO more. They benefit from direct engagement with the world.
At first, seeing Ponijao sitting in the dirt beside her mother, with flies buzzing all around her is disconcerting for someone like me who grew up in Western culture. And I thought I was going to freak out when she bent her mouth to a stream to drink the water.
Thank goodness, not only does she survive but, by the end of the first year, she seems to be the most happy, well-adjusted, and capable of them all. I don’t mean to slight the other babies at all– they are four beautiful and unique human beings. It just made me think that it may be worthwhile to reconsider our super-sanitized, super-supervised approach to raising young children.
I love seeing how other people raise their babies– just to get some perspective– there’s more than one way to do it well!
What more could we let our babies do, if we only had a little more confidence in them?
Please share your reactions if you watch this wonderful film!
Trailer at this link: