By Adam Donato
The most important type of people to educate in this world are those in early childhood. No Small Matter explores the benefits of children receiving quality learning and the consequences of ignoring their most crucial hour of development. This documentary is narrated by Alfre Woodard (of Star Trek fame) and features interviews with childcare professionals, real-life children and parents, and most notably, Sesame Street's Cookie Monster. Does this documentary inspire action to enhance schooling for early year children, or is it just an exercise in the cuteness of toddlers?
The documentary begins and ends with this simple, yet effective, metaphor for how important it is to lay down a solid foundation. This translates to the importance of everyone having access to quality child education. It builds a very compelling case, even going to the extent that saying all political parties have the majority opinion that childhood education is a priority. It becomes so much of an obvious thing that needs to be implemented into all schools in America, that it’s hard not to ask the question “why not?”.
There are four personal stories that show the consequences of the government not investing in child education: a family with two parents who have good jobs can barely pay for quality education for their only child, a divorced mother who has to work two jobs round the clock just to get her children into childcare, a struggling couple stuck with a million dollar receipt for hospital bills for their child, and lastly, an all-star preschool teacher who doesn’t come close to earning a livable wage at her school and must take a second job and live with her parents. This country punishes the people who do one of the most important jobs and hearing this woman’s story breaks your heart. These personal stories allow you to see how the system is directly affecting real-life people and putting them at a disadvantage as they stare down the barrel of a stacked deck. It’s a very effective way to draw sympathy for the overarching cause of the documentary.
This documentary is important for new parents to watch as the most critical time for a child to develop is during the first three years of life. It’s informative as well as adorable since the movie is mostly one big montage of babies having fun. The cause of the documentary is presented in an inarguable way and explains why society is so dysfunctional. For teachers, this documentary is like the gospel, preaching how their job is so important to the development of the most impressionable type of people.
No Small Matter hits VOD on June 26.