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Work, Play, Food and Care: Creating a More Equitable Future for all Children

by Nicole Biondi and Joe Waters
March/April 2020
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/work-play-food-and-care-creating-a-more-equitable-future-for-all-children/5025258/

At last year’s World Forum on Early Care in Education in Macau, China, we showed the audience a photograph of “PARO,” a soft and cuddly baby seal that is actually a therapeutic robot used in more than 30 countries as emotional support therapy for adults with dementia and children with autism.

The cuddly critter makes baby seal sounds when tickled under the chin, and using artificial intelligence it “learns” how its owner most likes to be responded to. PARO has been clinically proven to lower anxiety, stress, pain and depression.

We suppose all of us could use our own emotional support seal at times, even if it is a robot.

While new technology can serve important purposes, we all know that caregiving is a deeply personal, human task that should never be entirely automated. Children, of course, thrive in reciprocal, responsive relationships with loving and devoted caregivers.

We live in a time of unprecedented and rapid technological transformations in culture and society. All of these transformations are impacting young children and families one way or another. Key to children’s development, however, are the skills children learn best through play.

In his book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century,” Yuval Noah Harari argues that we should not ...

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