From the desk of a psychologist!

Archive for the ‘Early Years’ Category

Its only the mould which breaks them!

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. – Dr. Seuss

I am a true believer of the uniqueness of each and every individual. We differ in a lot of ways from each other and this certainly affects our learning too. Some lessons work for us while some fail miserably, why is it so?  1for-a-fair-selection-everybody-has-to-take-the-same-exam_787144ec8906c416d5b842d5d9412257

I won’t give the whole credit to the instructor of the class but the power is in the hands of the learning environment. I am going to explore three learning environments, which according to me is instrumental in deciding the future of an individual learning outcome.

1. **A learning environment which encourages the right way of using multimedia**:
This environment provides educators with an opportunity to engage learners in an immerse and interactive environment that requires knowledge, decision making, and information management skills.

( http://www.educause.edu/eli/programs/learning-technologies)

The world is changing and how? Being in India, we are living with technology. I work in a school where we are preparing our kids to be successful in the next decade. We still have no clue what advancement in technology would be there by then but one thing we couldn’t deny is the growth of multimedia.

I have seen children who learn genuinely through games, simulations & virtual world. They are excellent in it and any given day could teach you skills you can use life long. But they aren’t learning the way we are teaching them. We become too instructional with something which is made to be explored & experimental.

I have seen special students doing fairly well and learning effectively when given the opportunity with multimedia.

My only, but not trivial concern, with this learning environment is the inability of children to stop and draw the line when requires. It still needs vigilant supervision.

2. **Learning through Nature :**

My next environment is just the opposite of the first one. I have never seen the happiness and contentment in learning than when students return from a field trip or external learning environment.

Play expert Stuart Brown ( 2009) provides compelling evidence that a ” play deficit” exists. It is sad but true and if you are blessed to be in an educational environment you can actually feel it.

The brain develops in a healthy way and it also enables creativity. The addition of fantasy also encourages students to role play and conquer their fears. The flip side actually emerges from here when it goes beyond learning and the child is unable to come back to reality and the practicality is lost.

3. **Sociocultural Learning environment:**

To meet the goal of “preparing people for an ever-changing world”, instructional programs need to apply strategies that focus on the development of critical thinking, problem solving, research, and lifelong learning.

Every day you learn something due to your individual, social & cultural factors. The best learning is when you recognize these factors and make full use of it while most of the time sadly it goes unnoticed. If properly used and made an aide to learning, it impacts our growth for life.

So, my whole point is wear the suit which suits you the best. No need to run after what works for the people or what is in these days.

Remember most of the time ““Its only the mould that breaks them!!!”

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Gifted or Galling?

 

It’s amazing to see that there is relatively a lot more awareness for differently abled children than those who are gifted. I am not saying it is right or wrong but it certainly puts a question mark to our whole struggle of equality. If you are one of those who swear by the philosophy of  giving ‘ Equal Rights’ to all the children/ people under this sun, I am sure you would understand the place I am coming from.

I am in the field of education and sometimes we come across children who are disruptive, seem disinterested and ask the teacher questions which make them look like a novice. These children are generally labeled as rude, arrogant, lazy or sometimes even harboring behavior problems. The problem is we know so little or nothing about a ‘ Gifted Child‘ , let alone identify and appreciate them.

The main problem with this whole concept is the idea of ‘ Giftedness’. In this world of ‘multiple intelligences‘, you can’t limit yourself to IQ. You have to come out to the whole arena of various intelligences and then perceive a child’s capability and his potential.

Is the child who seems to be getting bored during your lecture about life actually way ahead of you spiritually more connected to himself. May be he already has established the whole meaning of his existence. You find him lazy and unmotivated and he finds you boring because the information you are putting in front of him has already been figured out by him and he expects validation not introduction from you as his teacher to keep him interested

The term ” Gifted” was first used by Francis Galton. He used the term for adults, who showed exceptional talent in any specific field. Understanding this is very crucial. We have somewhere lost this whole essence and now we only refer to those who are intellectually superior as ‘ Gifted”.

What about the child, who made a whole new music instrument from his toy car?

Time for us to reflect, be honest to ourselves and change the way we look at our child, who irritates us because we somehow aren’t able to keep up with him/her.

 

Good touch, Bad touch!

If you are a parent or a caretaker of a child, You should stop and certainly read this!

Being a parent, I know we just wish that there is no word as danger in their world but we know it is not possible. So, we should do the next best thing of either keeping away our kid from danger or make them ready to face it. Again the latter is only possible if we restrict our child at home, which consequently would stop their growth.  

If you think or even want yourself to be a good parent, you make your child prepare for this world in each possible way.

Now the question, I want to ask you today is, have you thought about making them strong enough to deal with a sexual predator?

I always say shutting our eyes doesn’t infer that the problem is not there. It just means that we refuse to deal with it. If you are one of those who believe that it can never happen to my child as we live in a protected world, I am sorry to break it to you but you are living in a delusional world.

I am not only talking about the evil-looking ‘wanted’ individual, whose very look starts ringing alarms but I am trying to bring your attention to the friendly, safe and nice looking individuals. Those uncles with whom we know everything will go just fine or that neighbor who takes care of our child, when we have to run for an errand.

How are we so sure that nothing bad is going to happen?

Do you know that statistics prove that more than 70% of the times, assaulter is a well-known person of the child.

Are you comfortable that you have a son and they are not the potential targets. You need to wake up, as the boys are as vulnerable as girls in getting harassed.

God forbid if it happens, our child will be able to handle it and also let us know about it? Are you sure that you have imparted sufficient knowledge for your kid to actually not feel guilty about it and have the confidence to share it with the right person?

The world is a beautiful place but we all know that bad exists with good. There are people who are mentally sick . The problem here is no one can look at a person and say that there is something wrong with him and my child is not safe with this person. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you haven’t yet started, begin it today. Talk about the real evil of this world and talk in their language. Some tips to get you started:

  • Introduce them to the dangers of this world and then move to this particular area.
  • Tell them the ‘ Must say NO areas’, which are a strict NO. No one could or should touch you there. These areas are the chest, the area between your legs and your bottom ( bums). If you have are difficulty in explaining it to your kid, show them this picture and tell them to make sure no one touches them in the areas covered:

Please make sure that the kids understand that any touch which feels uncomfortable or leaves them confused need to be discussed with you. Make them comfortable with it. Tell them, it is not and never going to be their fault if a person touches them in the inappropriate places or ways.

  • Teach them how to shout NO. If a bad touch happens they should repeat No and run away from the place as fast as possible.

From childhood, somehow we have conveyed this message to our kids, that saying ‘No’ is not a good thing. You should listen to adults and do what they ask you to. We need to make them understand that sometimes you need to say ‘No’ and stick to it. Mom is not going to be upset if she finds out about your ‘No’, in fact she is going to be proud of you.

  • They should identify a ‘Safe Adult’. Someone with whom they are able to communicate and feel safe. If they face any such circumstance, they should find their safe adult and share the experience with them.

Children take secrets too seriously. They seldom break them. Make them understand the difference between a good secret and bad. Any secret, which makes you uncomfortable or sad need to be only shared with your safe adult.

If you are a parent, see the signs. Children are like flowers, you can see them withering if tampered!

Anger Management in early years

This is not one of my articles but some ways I have collated from different sources. I have found them really effective and would like to share it with all of you. Feel free to add tips which have worked with you or you’ve seen them working on others.

We all need to learn to express anger in a productive way instead of holding it in or lashing out at others. But how do you teach a child, especially one who is all emotion all the time, to react in a productive way when her feelings overwhelm her?

Consider these tips :

1. Teach that Anger is Okay, But Not Violence It’s one of the most unsettling emotions a parent can deal with, but many agree that a child’s anger is as natural as love or happiness. However, it’s tricky to try to teach the under-five set that while it is okay to feel mad, there are good and bad ways to deal with it.

2. Watch Your Own Temper Parents who scream and swear every time a driver cuts them off en route to school or yells at another mom in the school registration line can expect their child to handle their anger much the same way. “It is not easy, but if we are not able to do it ourselves, how can we expect a five-year-old to deal with his anger?”

3. Teach Them to Take Breaks or Walk Away A mom’s instinct is to protect her children. So it’s hard not to feel sorry if your child has been wronged. But moms/adults need to teach their children that they can’t get back at the offender with certain behaviors such as biting, hitting or swearing. What could we do [to make it right]?’ That gets a child thinking, rather than simply reacting.” A good strategy is to teach them to walk away if a child is lashing out in anger, and go tell mummy/teacher that he/she was angry and he/she needed help.

4. Give Them Words to Express Feelings Preschool-aged kids need to discover the right words to express their feelings, but the adults need to show them how.

5. Keep Outbursts in Perspective If you want to help your child learn to express himself and his anger more effectively, understand they he is trying to learn by testing limits

. 6. Help Them Feel Safe Anger is often justified, but your role is to help your child find a safe way and a safe place to express his feelings of frustration. “

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