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October 13, 2003
Teens and Toddlers on The Learning Curve

This is interesting:

A somewhat unusual scene is set out at the Gloucester nursery in Southwark, south London. Ten teenagers aged 15-17 are playing quietly and patiently with 40 or so toddlers who surround them. An atmosphere of relative calmness pervades the room. This is Teens and Toddlers, an innovative and successful teenage pregnancy prevention project based on providing the actual experiences of parenting.

Terry Borondi, now 19, an assistant on the project, was on the pilot scheme in nearby Greenwich two years ago. It changed the direction of his life. "I wasn't that interested at first, but I thought I'd give it a try," he says. "My future plan is to assist, and hopefully become a social worker, which is funny as I used to hate children." At the start of the course, Borondi believed he would be ready to be a father at 18 or 19. But now, like almost all the students who have attended the courses, he says he would not even consider it until he was 25.

Schemes such as this are badly needed. Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in western Europe, which in turn is second only to the US. Latest official statistics for England and Wales show that the number of conceptions for girls aged 14-17 in the year 2000 were 40,944, about half of which ended with abortion.

Teens and Toddlers is the vision of Laura Huxley, widow of Aldous Huxley. In 1977, she founded its parent organisation, Children Our Ultimate Investment, in the US. The idea came to her because she wanted to teach teenagers a reverence for life and to show them how difficult it was to be with young children. Early childhood and adolescence are the most egocentric periods in life, so she decided to put them together.

I got to this by listening to BBC Radio 4's weekly education show The Learning Curve, which is presented by Libby Purves. They reported on this scheme in their programme last Tuesday, which was repeated this evening. And I googled my way to this piece. I love the Internet.

I only caught the second half of this half hour radio show. I must remember to listen to it regularly, now that I'm listening to the radio in general more regularly having just gone digital. It's on at 4.30pm on Tuesdays and then repeated on Sunday evening at 11pm.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 01:46 AM
Category: This and that

I wanted to tell you I appreciate your positive piece on Teens & Toddlers. As a teen who has particiated in the program, I truely got alot out of it and made many friends as well as had been a role model to the little children.
Anyways, keep up the great writing.


Comment by: Selina on January 30, 2004 07:16 PM
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