We were all babies once but most of us probably have little conscious memory of those first twelve months. Apart from photos and family stories, we have only the person we are now to provide us with clues about our earliest year of life. Some of us may have younger brothers and sisters whom we watched growing up and thus have a more immediate awareness of babies. This series introduces us to eleven children and their families; their parents are interviewed and the babies are observed and tested as they play and grow. The series is being made in conjunction with a longitudinal study called Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) being carried out by The Institute of Family Studies, which is following 10,000 Australian children over a seven year period.
How do you give a child the best chance in life?
Life at 1 is the first instalment in a landmark series that aims to unlock the secrets of child development by following eleven babies and their families for seven years.
Made in conjunction with the longitudinal study in which 10,000 Australian children have been placed under a sociological and scientific microscope, this groundbreaking program focuses on those first formative years to try to discover what creates a happy, healthy child and makes us who we are.
Like those in the study, the eleven families in this series come from different walks of life. The challenges they face are both ordinary and extraordinary.
As we follow the babies through milestone events and days of ordinary routine, we witness the impact on their lives of factors such as their parents' relationships, finances, work, health and education. We watch the fascinating interplay of nature and nurture. And we predict the future.
Our experts, families and the information collected by the largest study ever conducted on Australian children tell us both what limits children's growth and wellbeing and what makes them thrive. In Life at 1 we also conduct behavioural and biological experiments – with rather surprising results. We discover the personalities of our babies and we find out if the stresses of modern life are too much for a child.
Apart from its direct relevance to the learning areas outlined on the previous page, Life at 1 paints a fascinating picture of Australian society in all its diversity. The series is as fundamental to understanding the nature of human life and development as Planet Earth is to our understanding of the natural world. This is reality television at its best. The joys and struggles of these very different families are shown with sensitivity and warmth. Comparisons with Michael Apted's Seven Up films are inevitable, but this series looks at children from birth to seven and employs a more deliberately scientific approach.
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