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Foundation spreads the message that ‘love grows brains’

Foundation spreads the message that ‘love grows brains’

Tauranga, 15 August 2017: Today the Wright Family Foundation launches a national campaign to communicate with Kiwi parents the critical importance of talking, reading, singing and interacting with babies and young children.

With the backing of experts in brain development including Dunedin Study Director Professor Richie Poulton and neuroscience educator Nathan Wallis, the foundation has created Love Grows Brains. The Wright Family Foundation also collaborated with Talking Matters and Brainwave Trust Aotearoa on the project.

A series of 20 film clips, developed as public messages to support families, will screen over several months during the primetime television commercial breaks.

Wright Family Foundation chief executive Chloe Wright was inspired by research highlighting the first years of a child’s life as a crucial and unique opportunity in a child’s development.

“Experiences in these early days set the stage for a child’s lifelong health, intellectual development and EQ. It’s a time of enormous potential, as foundations of brain development and growth of neural pathways impact on a child for life, it can be generational,” says Chloe.

“We are passionate in our hope that this message is heard by everyone who interacts with young children. Parents as first teachers have the most influence in future outcomes for the child – by singing, reading, talking and interacting with your baby, you are setting the stage for your baby’s lifelong health and intellectual development.”

The Wright Family Foundation worked alongside Talking Matters and the Brainwave Trust Aotearoa to further support the messages of the clips.

The clips feature Kiwi families, showing ‘magic moments’ between parent and child. The Wright Family Foundation worked with a documentary filmmaker to portray everyday Kiwis to ascertain the aspirations of parents for their children. The support from parents was overwhelmingly positive.

Highly regarded experts in child development also donated their time in support of Love Grows Brains.

Neuroscience educator Nathan Wallis shares the following message: “It’s not about genes, or alphabets, or numbers or colours, it’s about love and partnership. The more love and partnership a baby experiences in the first 1,000 days with that one main person, the brainier they will be. So it’s love that grows brains.”

Child behaviour psychologist Gaye Tyler-Merrick encourages parents to spend time with their babies - talking to them, playing with them, and interacting with them.

“Do all of those special things with your babies. The housework and other things can wait, but spending time with your baby will grow your baby’s brain. And then we have a lovely, secure, child growing up with good self-control, good self-regulation, that grows up to be a super competent person who, in turn, parents well themselves.”

The Wright Family Foundation is a not-for-profit registered charitable trust that is dedicated to “growing the good” in New Zealand by making a positive difference through education.

The foundation supports projects and organisations that are focussed on aiding the educational development of all New Zealanders.

Previously the foundation created the People Matter campaign, to encourage self-awareness, and awareness of others.

Love Grows Brains will be launched in Auckland tonight, with guest speakers child behaviour psychologist Dr Gaye Tyler-Merrick, Dr Lance O‘Sullivan, Dunedin Longitudinal Study Director Professor Richie Poulton, and neuroscience educator Nathan Wallis.


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