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  • Writer's picturePRNewswire

'No Small Matter" film highlights power of early learning

LOS ALTOS, Calif. (PRNewswire) -- Nearly 300 Peninsula residents in California participated in a panel discussion and virtual screening of the groundbreaking documentary, No Small Matter, an absorbing film about the power of early learning.

Panelists Assembly member Marc Berman (, All Five Director Carol Thomsen, First 5 Deputy Director Michelle Blakely, and BuildUp for San Mateo County Director Christine Padilla were joined by Rachel Giannini, a preschool educator featured in the film.

The event was co-sponsored by Congregation Beth-Am, Good2KnowNetwork and Community Equity Collaborative.

The feature-length documentary shares powerful stories and reveals stunning truths about early brain development and the importance of nurturing learning in young (birth through age 5) children.

Interviews and real-life examples portray the vital importance of quality care and education, not only for every child, but also for a healthy society and thriving economy.

No Small Matter makes the case that early learning issues belong at the top of the agenda for policy makers, business executives and even national security planners.

Verbal and nonverbal interactions between children and the adults who care for often young children are held...these kinds of experiences affect our collective future.

The compelling backdrop provided by No Small Matter, coupled with the reality of current childcare challenges, fueled a lively discussion among the panelists about early childhood education in California.

Carol Thomsen, an early childhood center director in Belle Haven, noted that research results make a clear case for quality early learning programs, and that failure to act has lifelong implications, particularly for the most vulnerable children.

San Mateo County First 5 Deputy Director Michelle Blakely made the point that, while universal pre-k for 3 and 4-year-olds is an important goal, investments must begin with pregnant mothers and extend into infancy and toddler years.

Christine Padilla, who leads an early education facilities initiative, noted the connection between early care and a thriving economy-- both locally and nationally.

"Every dollar spent on high-quality early learning saves $13 in future social spending and $2 in immediate economic output. A strong economy requires a solid human infrastructure, and childcare is key to that foundation."

Assembly member Berman, who earlier that day had been sworn in for his next term in office, emphasized his continuing support for policies that strengthen California's early learning delivery systems.

According to Berman, "Early childhood education has been chronically underfunded for far too long. The time has come for significant investments at the state and federal level."

He asked participants to hold him accountable and to hold other lawmakers accountable for prioritizing this issue.

The event inspired more than 100 questions and comments. Participants were offered a list of ways they could engage in the movement for high-quality early learning, ranging from outreach and advocacy, to being a Learning Home Volunteer, to exploring a career in early learning through the Teacher Pipeline Project, to encouraging friends to watch No Small Matter, which can be purchased on Amazon.

As Silicon Valley Community Foundation Director of Early Childhood Development Christine Thorsteinson commented, "This film should be required viewing for every Bay Area leader. It is just excellent, and the panel discussion offered a clear invitation for what we can each do to bring much needed changes to our system."

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