This is the trade­mark phrase of Brook­lyn Beta, a con­fer­ence held in Brook­lyn, NY each Octo­ber. 2012 will be its third year. The phrase refers to the apps and web designs the major­i­ty of atten­dees spend their days cre­at­ing. Some are just cre­at­ing for clients but are still striv­ing to affect the world in more ways than just mon­ey. There have been dis­cus­sions at pre­vi­ous con­fer­ences about edu­ca­tion, how to change it and make it bet­ter. Sim­i­lar­ly with healthcare.

I make some­thing I love every day but in my case my work inter­sects edu­ca­tion and health­care at its very root: I am nur­tur­ing babies and young children. 

They are the biggest con­tri­bu­tion any of us can make to soci­ety. Babies and young chil­dren are our future. If we do not nur­ture babies from day one they will con­sign us to nurs­ing homes filled with dubi­ous staff mem­bers just as many (most?) par­ents all too often con­sign their babies into the care of cen­tres (which may call them­selves schools, even Montes­sori schools) with the high pos­si­bil­i­ty of like­wise dubi­ous staff members.

Those who attend Brook­lyn Beta are arguably the bright­est and the best at what they do. Where then does it leave their babies and young chil­dren? Is it real­ly good enough to con­sign them to those who are pos­si­bly at the bot­tom of the brain rung?

I can freely say this because I have worked in a child care cen­tre-come-school for four years after many years of suc­cess­ful­ly car­ing for and edu­cat­ing young chil­dren (and my own) exact­ly the way I want­ed. My meth­ods have healed emo­tion­al­ly delayed chil­dren and aid­ed those with Down’s Syn­drome to be the best they can be, and I’ve sent sev­er­al neu­rotyp­i­cal chil­dren (what used to be called ‘nor­mal’ but now sad­ly no longer ‘the norm’!), includ­ing my own two sons, out into the world to make it a bet­ter place. 

After much debate in my own brain and with­in my fam­i­ly I have deter­mined that in our facil­i­ty we have a destruc­tive 29 year-old Infant Lead teacher who has nev­er had a child of her own.

How can I com­bat this per­son and her, now obvi­ous, ‘per­son­al­i­ty dis­or­der’ that has already severe­ly delayed the emo­tion­al and phys­i­cal devel­op­ment of five baby boys dur­ing my tenure, all with their par­ents’ unwit­ting consent?

We are all stymied by the sup­port giv­en this per­son by our inex­pe­ri­enced 30-some­thing school own­er (albeit with her own two chil­dren, ques­tion­ably some­what delayed).

You might well ask why I haven’t moved on. That would require a long, very drawn out answer — I sug­gest you read some of my ear­li­er blogs and you may dis­cern why I find myself in this predicament. 

My goal now is not to allow any­one to ‘break’ the major­i­ty of the babies cur­rent­ly in our care. ‘For­tu­nate­ly’ for the major­i­ty of babies in our care our Infant Lead teacher always choos­es one baby each year that she makes her pri­or­i­ty. But that also means that every year one baby is deprived of opti­mal devel­op­ment at the same time cre­at­ing tremen­dous staff stress because the oth­er five infants are in the care of just one oth­er staff member! 

The oth­er Infant staff mem­bers (not just me) are well edu­cat­ed, sub­stan­tial and dili­gent­ly serve to com­pen­sate with the extreme­ly high stan­dard of care we pre­fer and advo­cat­ed by RIE/Magda Ger­ber (rarely seen in most day­care facilities). 

Yet those five remain­ing babies sim­ply make ‘sat­is­fac­to­ry’ progress not the ‘excel­lent’ progress that I expect and too often demand! Their progress would be so much bet­ter if we had a gen­uine and high­ly com­pe­tent 2:6 ratio. With a 1:5 ratio there are some chal­lenges as every­one car­ing for babies knows — what moth­er with quin­tu­plets can man­age by herself?

I would love it if I did­n’t see a blog about a geek’s 4 month-old baby in which the infan­t’s four favourite films are post­ed (three are car­toons)! That baby could already be on the down­hill run, devel­op­men­tal­ly speak­ing, as I have seen many times before.

As the bright­est and most intel­li­gent of your gen­er­a­tion it behoves Brook­lyn Beta par­tic­i­pants to cre­ate the most well bal­anced off­spring you can. Your child will always be dif­fer­ent — look at his par­ents! But let him be dif­fer­ent from the main­stream, let him make a dif­fer­ence in this world.

Don’t be afraid to stand out from the pack in the real world. Your child could make a remark­able dif­fer­ence, if only you give him the foun­da­tion he real­ly needs.

Videos, DVD’s, edu­ca­tion­al TV, ipads, iphones (sad­ly, all the accou­trements of your dai­ly work!) are not what he wants from you. He needs you to be tru­ly avail­able as a human per­son. You need to be able to fill him up each day in such a way that he’s self suf­fi­cient, coop­er­a­tive, emo­tion­al­ly bal­anced, phys­i­cal­ly strong, HIGHLY VERBAL AND COMMUNICATIVE and well nour­ished, before you even enter­tain putting him in the care of others.

He needs to be able to tell you that he’s not hap­py with what our fam­i­ly called ‘red flag peo­ple’ — those they instinc­tive­ly knew weren’t safe, reli­able or trust­wor­thy enough to be around.

I know you are the gen­er­a­tion that went to pre-school and day­care and feel “I did OK” but the fact is that you could have become so much bet­ter than ‘OK’ had you been at home with your moth­er (even Don­ald Win­ni­cot­t’s ‘ordi­nary good enough moth­er’) in those ear­ly years to help you tru­ly devel­op the essen­tial basic skills you need­ed for true life long learn­ing to occur.

Now to mak­ing some­thing I love.

I pre­pared our old­est son for school at five-plus lit­tle know­ing that the very infor­mal prepa­ra­tion we were mod­est­ly doing in a lov­ing house­hold was way beyond that being done by oth­er par­ents who had already con­signed their child to full time day­care at age 2. Our son had near­ly four more years to grow and mature at home — only for us to dis­cov­er that he was over­ly ready for learn­ing and the school could­n’t offer any­thing for him: “We aren’t oblig­ed to offer any­thing more” said his prin­ci­pal. The good news is that he was­n’t a behav­iour­al prob­lem or an emo­tion­al bas­ket case but that first year at school did ‘break’ him from one won­der­ful habit — inven­tive sto­ry telling.

The alter­na­tive? Extreme. Home edu­ca­tion. I made some­thing I love — oh boy did I! Then I did it again with our next son!

Now there are at least two unique, con­tribut­ing adults out in your world and in mine — they work hard, they play hard and they care about their fam­i­ly and mak­ing the world a bet­ter place. 

What more could you want out of ‘a career’? 

‘Make some­thing you love’ and start with your babies and young children!