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A Survey of Sixth Formers’ Knowledge of Early Brain Development in England

Nolan, Mary (2017) A Survey of Sixth Formers’ Knowledge of Early Brain Development in England. International Quarterly of Community Health Education. ISSN 0272-684X Online: 1541-3519 (In Press)

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Abstract

Objectives: to ascertain the knowledge of young people aged 16-19 of early brain development and their attitudes towards the care of babies and pre-school children. Design: cross-sectional, school and college-based survey including all sixth form students present on the days of data collection. The survey instrument comprised forced-choice questions in four sections: Demographics, ‘Perceptions and understanding of early childhood development’, ‘Parental behaviours to support early brain development ‘ and ‘Resource needs and usage’. Setting: two school sixth forms and one sixth form college in three towns of varying affluence in the West Midlands of the UK. Method: the survey was mounted online and completed by 905 students who returned it directly to the researcher. Results: Most students knew that tobacco, alcohol and drugs are hazardous in pregnancy, and many recognised the impact of maternal stress on foetal brain development. Many believed that babies can be ‘spoiled’ and did not appreciate the importance of reading to babies and of the relationship between play and early brain development. A significant minority thought that physical activity and a healthy diet have little impact on young children’s development. Respondents said they would turn firstly to their parents for advice on babycare rather than professionals. Conclusion: Young people need educating about parenting activities that support the all-round healthy development of infants. The importance of a healthy diet, physical activity, reading and play should be included in sixth-form curricula and antenatal classes. Consideration should be given to educating grandparents because of their influence on new parents.

Item Type: Article
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Uncontrolled Keywords: sixth formers, early brain development, knowledge, parenting
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Health and Society
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Copyright Info: Author
Depositing User: Mary Nolan
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2017 13:17
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2017 13:17
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/5403

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