Saturday, February 15, 2014

What's Missing From "Best Practices"?

What's Missing That is Most Important?

Well, there are an infinite number of ways to raise a child, aren't there? 

No! there are not. 

In my opinion, the way to raise a child is simple. And, the best way to raise a child begins with something not mentioned in the following lists of 'best practices', all of which I agree with by the way. I'll give you the missing ingredient from these lists in my conclusion.

True joy!

Today, there are many early childhood development and education philosophies, some of which have been adopted into high quality early childhood programs. Waldorf schools, the Reggio Emilia ApproachRIE (Resources for Infant Educaring)Attachment Parenting, and the Montessori Philosophy are five 'approaches' to raising children. These all have their devout followers. 

Combining the Aforementioned Child Development Philosophies Yields the Following Template for Raising a Child with 'Success':

 The mutual goal is to teach children to think creatively so they may succeed in a complex and ever-changing world. 

 All interrelated aspects of the child’s growth and development are considered. 

• Children are viewed as thinkers, reflecting about their world. 

• Children gain confidence by building on a path of ever increasing knowledge. 

• Children are encouraged to make choices and practice individual decision-making.  

• Adults encourage curiosity, exploration and problem solving in an atmosphere of warmth, affection and respect for each child.

• Children learn through active exploration in an environment which is rich in materials and opportunities to converse, socialize, work, play and negotiate with others.

 There should be structured and unstructured periods, enabling children to learn at their own rate. 

 Play is a way of learning for children. 

• Purposeful play is when children learn through the process of their efforts. 

 Purposeful play should be developmentally appropriate in a child’s intellectual, social, emotional and physical development.

 Children should be actively involved in experiences which include foundations of math, science, social studies, creative art, language arts, music, movement and dramatic play.

Father and daughter letting go

Learning Environments Support Purposeful Play By: 

• Blocks of various sizes and materials 

• Materials and time for dramatic, imaginative play 

• Manipulative and table toys

• Art materials and tools to explore 

• Sensory play materials, including sand and water 
• A library area 

• Music and movement activities 

• Cooking experiences 

• Outdoor and gross motor play 

• A quiet area for the child who needs to be alone 

• Ample and rich language and print 

• Writing tools and materials

• Computer exploration (after age four or so)

Papa Green Bean letting loose!

Intended Outcomes for Children Include:

1. Development of a positive self-concept 

2. Respect for the individuality and rights of others

3. Positive ways of interacting with peers and adults

4. Acceptance and expression of both positive and negative feelings 

5. Growth of independence and self-sufficiency 

6. Growth of creative thinking and problem solving 
7. Cognitive growth and development 

8. Emergent literacy development 

9. Small and large muscle development

Papa Green Bean Conclusion:

The above template is intuitive for many mothers and fathers. For others, this list is helpful.

The one overriding aspect of child development that is not listed above is displaying a healthy sense of humor. Total respect for children includes a genuine light-hearted view of life. The ability to see into the child's eyes with an empathic loving twinkle models a positive up-lifting attitude. Happy enthusiasm and the ability to let loose and be ourselves lets the child know that there is true joy in living. All of the rest of it, then, becomes easy. 

Smiles, Papa Green Bean