The French Documentary Babies : The First Year Of Development Essay

The French Documentary Babies : The First Year Of Development Essay

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The French documentary Babies shows the first year of development of four different babies who live in four completely different environments. The film follows Ponijao, a little girl from Namibia, Bayar, a little boy from Mongolia, Mari, a girl from Tokyo, and Hattie, a girl from San Francisco. Even though the babies live in very dissimilar parts of the world, their physical, cognitive, and social development seem to all follow a set pattern. On the other hand, the babies learn to do some activities distinctive to their environment by watching their parents and siblings. Therefore, Babies provides evidence to support both the nature and nurture sides of the debate.
All four babies followed a similar pattern of gross-motor development. They all crawled before they could stand up, and they stood up before they could walk on their own. For example, Ponijao could stand up with help, and then she learned how to do it by herself. Once she could stand, she would dance and clap along to music. Bayar crawled through a field first; next, he discovered how to climb onto a bucket to get closer to the cows. On a chaotic play date, Mari is shown crawling. Later, she is the first of the babies that learns how to stand on her own. Hattie bounces in a jumper before she can stand, walk, run, etc. Nurture seemed to play more of a role in fine-motor development. All the babies started to reach and grab on their own, but they had to learn some skills from the people around them. Ponijao’s mother teaches her how to balance a tin on her head with her hands and walk. She is probably the only baby featured in the documentary that could do that task successfully since her mother was the only one to show her how. That activity takes practice which none of...


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...the film helped pull everything that we were learning about children in class together. The most interesting part was that we would learn about development of a certain skill, like a fine-motor skill, and then we would get to see multiple examples of it in action in the film. It surprised me that even though all the babies grew up in such diverse environments, their development progressed in fairly similar ways. Ponijao and Hattie’s environments barely had anything in common, yet they still both ended up walking, talking, and expressing themselves. I believed before watching Babies that nurture played a slightly more important role in infant development than nature, but I think the documentary convinced me that nature is just as crucial. The message of the documentary helped me see that both nature and nurture play significant roles in development in their own ways.

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