May 15, 2019

School readiness for children

I have recently come across this page:

Parents, teachers, schools, adults almost everyone around a young child is mostly focussing on whether the infant is able to recognise animals, point at vehicles when asked upon. Once, speech begins, then the stress in upon if the child is able to recite A to Z or number 1 to 10 or 20. Then there are these parent conferences that happen at play areas regarding whose child can count more, walk faster, sing better.

Then comes the preschool age where children are taken through umpteen 'prewriting activities' so that the child will be able to grasp the pen and write well! Oh! Some schools, I heard, are teaching cursive writing to 4-year-olds!! What happened to calligraphy? Why can't children write in their own patterns? Then the homework that is given to be done at home. Parents, by this time, notice that the child was so brilliantly learning and questioning when he was younger like 2 or 2.5, now, I don't know what happened, he refuses to write or do what is asked for.
Welcome to the 'Phase'. Then some people say, this is just a phase, it will pass on.
Yeah, a phase where the child has begun to accept to move far from his intuition, a phase where the child fears the external authority more than he trusts his own intuition, a phase where we 'teach' the kids to do what is asked for and not question.

What are we focussing upon?
What are we showing the kids as 'Important' in life?
How are we defining 'learning' for kids?

All that the young children need is play, play and play. Free play and not instructed play. Along with the love and trust of an adult.
Just by playing they observe and start learning numbers and alphabets on their own if numbers and alphabets are your concern. Otherwise, by free play, they can learn a lot of things that cannot be put in words and graded like, assessing the environment, choosing the objective, trying for it(to achieve their own set goal) on their own, fail, try again achieve. The self-motivation and self-confidence all that is required is already present in young children and it goes away when adult force or coercion sets in. It moves to external motivation, achieve the goal so that you get a sticky star, eat fast you get to play more, count faster and the fastest will get sticky Smileys. Doing things for external motivation removes the joy of doing and learning ultimately.
More sad is that children are beginning to understand that this is THE NORM. But no, this should not and need not be the norm. The child can be left on his own to trust his own intuition.
By the end of 6 or 7 years, there are very few kids who are even realising to question the whys and whats.
That means congrats to the adults and the system, we have tampered the child's intuition already. And the children who question, receive very less encouragement. They are labelled as back-talking kids. Realize this parent, let the children be.
This is by a 5-year-old:
The first day she told me her teachers had asked the children to drink less water. She asked me the reason for it.
Another day, she says:
Amma, why should we be quiet? Why do they yell to be quiet?
Why should we not move from our benches?
And you know, what? Teachers tell lies!!!
They said to the children who kept moving from their benches that they won't be taken to their homes but they dropped them at their home in the end!!!
Why do they do that?
The first step to understand the self is questioning the existence and children do that often. Why do you yell, why do you want me to eat fast or sleep fast and many more.
Questioning the existence means the child is still intact to his intuition and the adult can try to change himself but not control the child.
If even questioning is suppressed then a lot of such thoughts become the foundation of grief for adulthood.



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