A ground-breaking TED Talk by a 7-year-old girl is set to change the way parents and caregivers around the world view early childhood brain development and how adults interact with the globe’s newest citizens.
Molly Wright, a Grade 2 student from Queensland, Australia, today became one of the youngest TED speakers in history after delivering the important message to parents and caregivers the world over.
Overseen by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Michael Gracey (Director of The Greatest Showman and Producer of Rocketman), Molly’s TED Talk demonstrates the simple yet life-changing things we can all do to help children thrive.
Molly’s TED Talk was brought to life by Minderoo Foundation, one of Australasia’s largest philanthropic organisations, and aligns with Minderoo’s Thrive by Five initiative.
In the lead up to today’s global launch, Molly’s TED Talk has been shown to new parents in maternity wards in Australia (through Ramsay Health Care) and Afghanistan (via Bayat Foundation) as part of a pilot – with further plans to roll it out in hospitals around the world.
Leading philanthropist and Minderoo Foundation Co-chair Nicola Forrest AO said it was Thrive by Five’s mission to ensure every child, no matter where they grow up or who their parents are, has an equal chance to reach their full potential.
“We believe every child can, and should, thrive by the age of five,” Mrs Forrest said. “Science tells us that the volume of a child’s brain has reached 90 per cent by the age of five so we want to help set parents up for success and increase awareness of the importance of having positive interactions with children – early and often.
“Molly beautifully delivers this universal truth – that the early years are the most critical period for shaping a child’s life now, and in their future.”
Head of TED Chris Anderson said Molly’s message would resonate around the globe.
“I absolutely love this talk,” Mr Anderson said. “Ideas can come from anywhere. To hear a powerful idea like this spoken so eloquently by a child … Wow! This deserves a huge audience.”
During the pilot a survey of parents, nurses, maternal health experts, GPs and practitioners revealed positive feedback, including Professor Desiree Silva, Head of Paediatrics, Joondalup Health Campus (Perth, Australia); Ms Mariam Bayat, Director, The Bayat Foundation; and Mr Justin Graham, Group CEO, M&C Saatchi AUNZ
“Molly’s TED Talk draws on the five top tips of connect, play, talk, healthy home and community, focusing on the simple and fun things we can do in a child’s first five years that will have a profound impact on their brain development and wellbeing,” Mrs Forrest said.
“Not only is this important information to share amongst parents and carers, but policymakers and world leaders.”
Professor Desiree Silva, Head of Paediatrics, Joondalup Health Campus (Perth, Australia) meanwhile said: “The opportunity for us to share the film with patients in our Joondalup and Glengarry maternity wards and early parenting centre has been a real joy.
“The message to connect and play, early and often with children from birth to age five is vital in their development and overall wellbeing.
“New parents at our hospitals found the video educational, entertaining and inspiring.
“Molly’s TED Talk has the potential to improve the health outcomes for children on a global scale.”
Ms Mariam Bayat, Director, The Bayat Foundation also stated: “Maternal and early childhood health has been a priority for the Bayat Foundation since our inception, and the opportunity to work in partnership with the Minderoo Foundation to launch the Thrive By Five TED talk highlighting the importance of early childhood education in Afghanistan is a unique privilege for us and serves a compelling need in our country.
Sharing Molly’s TED Talk and the important lessons about positive engagement between parents and children in the critical early years of life will inspire Afghan mothers, fathers, and families to further instil critical thinking, emotional intelligence, inclusive communication, and collaborative problem-solving skills with their young children.”
“We believe that this presentation will help give rise to thousands of Afghan ‘Mollys’ in the years ahead — talented, confident, compassionate, positive, and emotionally secure Afghan children who will grow into the nation’s future doctors, educators, lawyers, and leaders, a tremendous resource for Afghanistan and a lasting tribute to the impact that passionate philanthropic organisations – Afghan and Australian – can achieve in the near and medium-term despite the daily challenges in our nation today.”
Mr Justin Graham, Group CEO, M&C Saatchi AUNZ, another partner, said: “The M&C Saatchi Group is incredibly proud to be a part of this initiative with Minderoo, Australia’s largest philanthropic agency, and the talented team at Finch Sydney.
Molly’s TED Talk will be launched via social media, in hospitals around the world, and will be supported by a global launch strategy to connect the content to the right people at the right moments.
“Minderoo is an organisation that is creating change on a global level, and we are delighted that we are able to partner with them to realise their ambitions through creative thinking.”