Literature and our professional experience informs us that stable, safe and nurturing early childhood experiences are correlated with overall health and well-being for the individuals that experience them, but a recent partnership between Yale & UNICEF has been studying the impact of “peaceful” early childhood experiences and the impact on larger systems (communities, world). They are finding that, “love, forgiveness and peace are synergistic – meaning their presence can have a tangible impact or a ‘butterfly effect’ on the others. The reverse is also true — violence at home impairs children’s ability to trust and to love later on as adults; a community beleaguered by conflict is toxic for their growth”.
So what does this mean for the work we do at SPCC? “‘The relationship of early childhood development to peace is a promising area for further research,’ said Dr. James Leckman, the Neison Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychology & Pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine. ‘There is compelling evidence that if you intervene early and alter caregiving, there are lasting effects on not only the child, but the family, community and that child’s interactions with others later in life’.” If we impact one child’s life, making it more peaceful, we impact all of our children’s lives. We impact our whole community.