Throughout the documentary Babies, the audience is given an insight on four different cultures: Africa, Mongolia, Japan, and the United States. The film focuses on the development and cultural traditions of bearing and raising and infant. According to Piaget, this entire film is documenting the child’s sensorimotor stage of life. The sensorimotor stage is from ages birth to two years of age. The individual understands the world through senses and actions. I observed many differences just in the first ten minutes. To hone in on a few I compared and contrasted how each woman from each country fed, bathed, and groomed their children. I also noticed how they had different traditions and societal norms when it came to certain things.
Firstly, One of the most striking similarities between each of the babies was that they all try to copy the behaviors and actions of the people surrounding them. I believe that this specific similarity should be considered a benefit, because as they progress into their development, it will become easier for the babies to react to their environmental surroundings. In addition to a striking similarity, a couple of surprising differences among the four babies was how each of the babies were raised by each of their parents. I noticed that Ponijao, Mari, and Hattie were always supervised by their parents. However, Bayarjargal always seemed to be alone without adult supervision. Also, I noticed that Hattie and Mari attended programs with other babies and mothers, while Bayarjargal and Ponijao did not have any type of programs to attend. This difference in this reality might seem like a drawback to Bayarjargal and Ponijao, because they do not have as many technological resources available to further their development. However, each of the environments the babies live in are different, so they will probably adapt without any of the programs that are available in Japan and the US.
Additionally, the babies’ information processing, intelligence, reasoning, language development, and memory also developed throughout the movie. This is known as cognitive development. Each child had a different environment to interact with.
Towards the middle of the film, the documentary shows the four babies crawling. That can relate to the term gross motor skills. Gross motor skills are defined as movement and coordination of the arms, legs, and other large body parts and movements. They participate in actions such as running, crawling, swimming, etc.
Another isolated scene that stood out to me was the young African infant was dozing off to sleep while sitting up. As I learned in class, that would be defined as the sleep-wake transition. The sleep-wake transition is when babies doze or daze off to sleep. That was clearly portrayed in the film.
To wrap things up, the documentary Babies really showed different cultures and their customs for raising children. All of the babies had different environments and stimuli.The babies from Japan and San Francisco had actual toys while the children from Mongolia and Africa had animals, sticks, nature, etc. However, they all explored and learned from their own experiences. Even though the babies were raised in different environments they still went through similar types of development. They all crawled, began to walk, and talk. Some did it faster than others but eventually they were all taking steps and beginning to babble words. This showed me that environmental factors can impact a baby’s development and the rate at which they develop.