The Beginning of Life documentary – short clips

Published July 12, 2018

Below you can find our selection of short clips from the documentary ‘The Beginning of Life’, explaining the importance of the early years of a child’s life by zooming in on different subjects, like the importance of parent-child interactions (serve and return principle), the importance of a father being present in a child’s life and the fact that a child’s developing brain brings both opportunities and risks.

The short clips, like the full documentary, shine a light on the importance of the early years by documenting the lives of young children and their families across the world – interspersed with clips from early childhood development experts explaining key issues. They are grouped by theme (caregivers, nutrition, brain development, nurturing care, learning, play, policy and examples) which can easily be navigated from the menu on the left side of the page.

The full version of ‘The Beginning of Life’, which was produced with the support of Maria Cecília Souto Vidigal Foundation, Alana Institute, UNICEF and the Bernard van Leer Foundation, is available on various global video-on-demand platforms including Netflix and iTunes.



Brain development

Nurturing care





Bernard van Leer Foundation trailer

Babies learn more in their first three years than they will ever learn again – but their healthy brain development depends on having a secure, stable, loving set of caregivers. This is a six minute summary of the full Beginning of Life documentary especially created for the Bernard van Leer Foundation. It touches on the topics of brain development, the case for investing in the early years, learning from birth (or even before), the importance of caregivers in a child’s life, the influence of both positive and negative experiences on a child’s development, nurturing care and healthy nutrition, and why parents need society’s support.