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Bristol academic delves into the secret life of four-year-olds for new documentary

Channel 4

Press release issued: 9 February 2015

Dr Paul Howard Jones from Bristol’s Graduate School of Education will feature in a new Channel 4 documentary [broadcast 10 Feb] providing a unique insight into the secret life of four-year-olds.

The observational documentary takes viewers on a journey into this pivotal stage of childhood through the eyes of ten children as they meet in nursery and take their first tentative steps towards independence in a world without parents.

With their parents watching close by on monitors, the film captures the children’s behaviour and emotions while they make and break friendships, struggle to share and stand up for themselves and ultimately find their place in this new social group.

These life lessons all take place under the watchful eye of Educational Neuroscientist, Dr Howard-Jones and Developmental Psychologist, Dr Sam Wass from the MCR Cognition & Brain Unit, Cambridge, and two early years teachers.

This close observation of children’s play in a nursery setting allows the experts to understand critical events almost from the perspective of the children themselves, as they explore and learn about their new social world.

During the programme the children are presented with certain challenges from teamwork games to sharing toys – replicating the kinds of situations they would encounter in their own nurseries and lives.  Together, the experts attempt to reveal how individual personalities and skill sets are already being formed.

Dr Paul Howard-Jones said: “I have never had the opportunity to listen to the conversations of a group of children of this age group in such an intimate way. It actually has been a fantastic revelation.”

 ‘The secret life of four-year-olds’ will be broadcast on Channel 4 at 8 pm on Tuesday 10 February 2015.

Have you ever wondered what sort of mischief kids get up to when your back is turned? Interview: Dr Howard Jones speaks to the Wellcome Trust about what we can learn from the secret lives of children?

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