It’s been a while since I wrote on this blog, too many things pulling me away obviously. If you have missed me, I do apologize, blame my Montessori Primary training and then the tour of Nigeria, Apparatus training in 5 cities in the last year.
Anyway I am glad to be back and want to kick off an important discussion in my opinion: Why is Child Development so important to know for both parents and teachers?
What is Child development to start with?
According to Wikipedia
Child development entails the biological, psychological and emotional changes that occur in human beings between birth and the conclusion of adolescence, as the individual progresses from dependency to increasing autonomy.
Unfortunately it seems that our concentration is usually centered on the biological changes that must occur for growth to be ascertained in each child! Less attention is placed on knowing and understanding the emotional or psychological growth of the child.
I personally had little understanding of this until I did my Montessori training and a completely new world of knowledge opened itself up to me. It helped me put so much into perspective.
I overnight became a better parent, more tolerant and less irritated by my children’s behavior. I could understand much better why they behaved in certain ways because I could see that their behavior was simply based on their current developmental stage.
Sometimes as adults we expect children to behave as adults, we put too much strain and stress on the child instead of helping them get to where they need to be as growing children step by step.
The job of an adult (teacher or parent) is to understand the child and help them to get from where they are to where they need to be.
The development of the child is known in basic terms to begin at infancy, moving to toddler stage, preschool and then the school aged child. Each stage has different requirements as the infant is different from the toddler or preschooler.
The problem with not understanding how the child develops is seen in our over bloated expectations of the child. For example, most parents still complain if a child cannot write the numbers 1 to 50 at 3 years. We expect children to memorize quite a lot of information sometimes even as young as 2 years. If our 3 year old refuses to share their toys, we see it as defiance and not as the egocentric stage of development which we need to help the child grow out of!
Since we do not understand that the toddler is a sensory learner who learns from experiencing his environment, and that the Preschooler is the child who is ready to take on the symbols of numbers and alphabets and make sense of them, we tend to overburden the child with ridiculously high expectations that take the fun out of learning.
Children are natural learners, they are born to learn.
As adults we must understand how they develop so we can help them be who they are meant to be.
Please if you do not know that your 3 year old is saying to you
Show me how to do it,
and your 6 year old is saying:
I can do it myself,
that your 7 year old is saying:
Infuse my imagination and let me use my mind to think and understand my world more,
while your 9 year old is saying to you,
I can think, I have a mind of my own, I love my world and I want to learn what is right from what is wrong.
Your 12 year old on the other hand is saying to you,
I want things to be fair, I can see what is right from what is wrong. Daddy you do not spend enough time with the family, Mummy you shout too much and it is not right. Teacher, I used to look up to you but you are not being fair, always shouting, annoyed and giving us too much homework! And that examination question you asked was so unfair, though I caught myself in time, I am sure some of my classmates failed because of of it!
Your 12 year old and over is going through so much:
Who am I? What is my place in this world? How can I help? Am I alright? Do people like me? Mother and Father always seem to be unhappy about everything I do? etc,etc, etc.
You see why it is important for us to know about how a child develops?
This knowledge alone will enable us to know how to deal with children without inflicting damage on their emotional and psychological well being.
Teachers would be able to provide better lessons, which are age appropriate and in tune with the developmental stage of the child.
It is important to note that there is no one way fits all, when it comes to training or teaching a child. So please adults let us find out more about Child Development. Buy books, search the internet do some courses.
Lets take our understanding and knowledge of Child Development to a higher level to help our children grow right.