Here is an interesting report from National Public Radio regarding long-term impact of intentional, interactive play between parents and children in developing countries with underdeveloped brains due to undernourishment and disease. The study, published in the journal Science, suggests that more play time with parents can dramatically reverse this physical damage.

Listening to this report and its recorded snippets of the actual play between (in this case) a mother and child, it is apparent that the play is not predominantly instructional, but rather interactive and emotionally engaging. While the report doesn’t focus on this aspect of the play, it raises an interesting point of discussion (and makes one wonder about the impact of each researcher’s–and each reporter’s–perspective on the resulting news story).

You can listen to the report, “Playtime With Mom Helps Boost Toddlers’ Under-Developed Brains” by Nurith Aizenman, at the NPR website. (Note: I may well revisit the headline of this story another time, as it raises a different question entirely…)

For those who like reading research studies for the detail, it’s all here:
Labor Market Returns to Early Childhood Stimulation: a 20-year Followup to an Experimental Intervention in Jamaica
Gertler, P., Heckman, J. et al.
NBER Working Paper No. 19185
June 2013
Available at http://www.nber.org/papers/w19185.pdf, accessed 6-6-2014
© 2013 by Paul Gertler, James Heckman, Rodrigo Pinto, Arianna Zanolini, Christel Vermeersch, Susan Walker, Susan M. Chang, and Sally Grantham-McGregor
Recommended by Patrick Webster.

This post originally appeared, in a slightly different form, at the Along Shady Lane blog, © 2014 Shady Lane, all rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

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