At Nania_Fast Growing World

The world is getting busier.  The increasing turnover of activities, use of technology and demand for higher productivity in the adult world is also impacting our children’s world.  The competitive market place experience is heightening parents’ interest in early training to give their children a good head start.  An example of this is computer classes for children at kindergarten age.  

Many parents today believe an early introduction to reading, writing and use of technology will allow their children to orientate themselves and function better in the modern world.  Many think this is the “natural” way to keep up with the world and secure a future in a competitive marketplace.  As an educator, I notice parents are, increasingly over the years, getting more worried when they notice other children reading and writing or seemingly performing intellectually better than their own children at kindergarten age. Today, parents start to worry if their children still do not know their ABCs at 4 years old.  

Living amidst the fast pace of change in modern times, the need for a well-balanced development is a greater challenge than ever.  Children do have an amazing ability to learn.  They indeed master a wide range of skills and abilities (walking, talking, etc.) in a relatively short time.  As parents and educators, wanting the best for the child, we have to be careful we do not push them too fast too early.  

Children before 6 years old are busy building their bodies.  They grow seven times their body weight (as a baby) over this period.  

Physical development is the signature of this development phase.  The use of limbs, their coordination and an accompanying sense of time, space and movement should be the primary focus of their development programme at this stage.

At Nania, we approach children under 6 as Will beings.  They WANT to do things. Through doing something they discover and learn.  Through playing with their friends, they discover and learn about themselves. With children of this age, it is learning through willing and not learning through thinking as adults do. Hence our pre-school programme is designed to support the child to do many things in a rhythmical and artistic way. Activities take place within a daily and annual rhythm.  Learning is fostered through creative play, artistic activity, imitation and repetition. This however does not mean intellectual development is neglected.

Development unfolds in phases.  The change of teeth is a sign of change in the child’s development process.  It signals completion of the formative phase in bodybuilding.  Some of the life forces occupied in bodybuilding earlier are now available for other development processes.  The child, age 6 going to 7, is now more ready for classroom schooling than he/she was earlier.  

Until children are ready for intellectual class work, intellectual development or more accurately preparation for intellectual activity should be supported through movement and artistic activity.  Those who have tried would know that explaining abstract concepts such as Alphabets to pre-schoolers is hopelessly ineffective.  Coaching pre-schoolers to copy and memorise letters correctly does not really translate into expanding their understanding and use of language. Children however develop better vocabulary as they call upon language skills to articulate themselves during creative play.  

It is too demanding for children at pre-school age to sit still and concentrate their mind. Putting children through the traditional classroom language training exercises at pre-school age is likely to contribute more to stress than learning.  Children at this tender age clearly do not know how to handle stress. Parents may experience irregular behaviour as a result.  The stress to the being of the child also disturbs the bodybuilding process the child is in.  We have learnt, in modern times that many of out illnesses, e.g. headaches, stomach aches, are stress related. Likewise the child’s organism will be affected.  

Competition or keeping up with your classmates is often used as a tool to push children along in their studies.  Because they are not ready for it, this technique applied on pre-school age children to encourage them to remember their letters and numbers makes children more anxious and less harmonious to each other in class.  The stress and anxiety impressed on the being of the child at such tender age without any defence on their part is liable to set the stage for psychological problems in the future.

Truly, if we push children against their nature at this early age, we could nurture a dislike instead of interest in intellectual study.  I often hear parents complain about their teenage children’s lack of motivation and interest in schoolwork.  

As educators we need to package learning environments appropriate to the physical, mental and emotional development phase of the learner.  At Nania, we introduce the world of letters, words and numbers to our pre-school children through a combination of movement, poems, rhymes and songs.  The children are lead from Form drawing, colouring to writing, reading and comprehension.  

With these activities, they will enjoy learning reading and writing through their whole body.

The foundation of life is established during the tender age below 6 years old.  If learning is nurtured in an artistic and joyful environment, this joy of learning can continue to the next stages of life.


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