Family & child

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PSYCH_441_Age 7 in America Description –
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Age 7 in America (1991) Directed by Phil Joanou, Meryl Streep Narrator

This 1991 documentary is the American version of the British documentary series, “7 Up,” “14 Up”,
“21 Up”, “28 Up”, 35 Up”, “42Up”, “49 Up” 56 Up”, and “63 Up which were directed primarily over time by
Michael Apted. The American documentary of Age 7 directed by Phi Joanou focuses on the lives of 16
diverse children from different cultural, social, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. The documentary
chronicles the perspectives of these 7-year old children as they respond to questions about their life, their
schools, and their families as well as their beliefs and dreams. While not every culture is represented, the
scope of the video offers a sense of the diversity of children’s experiences in the U.S. While filmed many
years ago, the themes are timeless and are relevant to families today. The goal for viewing this video is to
emphasize the value of children’s voices and perspectives on their lives and families.

Class: Think about each child’s family and community context, and their access to resources and
learning opportunities from all perspectives of diversity such as cultural and economic. Consider their
unique life circumstances. What do their “voices” reveal about their thinking, their learning, their
developing values, and their family lives? Focus on one child or group at one site as you watch. Please
refer to the questions handout.


Upper East Side, New York City — Lucy, Alexis, and Kate





Lower East Side, New York City — Luis


Chicago Suburbs–Eric and Brandon



PSYCH_441_Age 7 in America Description –
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Southside of Chicago–Mike, Vicky, and Douglas





Urban Chicago: Robert Taylor Homes–Keneesha and LeRoy




Los Angeles, CA–Julio, Michael, and Salena





Lincoln, Nebraska–Ashtyn


The South: Rural Georgia–Joey and Edie


PSYCH_441_Age 7 in America Description –
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Name______________________________________________ Date:_________________________________

Age 7 in America: Focus on one child or the group of children at one location

Child/Children: __________________________________________________________________________

1.Brief description of the child’s ecological context and environment.

2. Does child refer to family members?

3.What supports and resources do you observe in the child’s environment? Do you
see that the child is exposed to or experiencing any stressors?

4.Do you have developmental or other concerns about this child in terms of what
they share in the video or what you observe? If yes, list one example or reason why
you have concerns.

5.What questions do you have about the child?

6.What questions might you ask this child? What more would you want to know?

7. What would be your prediction for how this child will be doing at age 14?

8. Please use the back of the handout/or additional space to add any other
comments or ideas, such as your specific observation on child’s resilience or any
ideas shared by the child that reveal resilience. You can also refer to your thoughts
on whether the realities viewed in the documentary settings and the ideas the
children share are still relevant in today’s world?

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