In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Grande Strategy

Pitfalls at the Elementary Years of Schooling

"In our dream, we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or science. We are not to raise up from among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply."

Rockefeller Foundation Director of Charity, Frederick Gates, 1913

(Memo to reader, Remember this quote as you read this essay and realize that there may be ulterior motives involved in hindering the path of the successful intellectual, development of children.)
So your little one is entering the school system and you have no idea about how to navigate it. At the back of your mind some of you realize that your child is not ready or perhaps they are ready. Blessed you, for the latter! Our concern however, is for the former children in this essay, although everyone hopefully can benefit.
The school systems that begin educating from age 4 or 5 can be difficult to navigate. They expect certain standards and progress to occur regardless of whether your child is cognitively ready or not. In addition, if your child requires learning programs that are more tactile, and exploratory in nature, this could present huge problem and complications for teachers and parents and especially the students themselves.
The child may need to continue on a journey of learning through exploration and they are being told that they have to sit for hours and not move; basically while their body is saying move on, look around and explore. Conversely, the school rules are saying there is only one way to learn and that is essentially auditory and book based. Imagine forcing a 4-6 year old to sit for extensive amounts of time and how alienating from learning this can be. Moreover they are required to learn these certain things by 5 because at six they will be moving on to other things. What happens then is that since reading, writing and maths for example are forced upon kids at ages that they may not be ready to handle these topics or some of these topics the child will begin to feel inadequate. Many of these kids are put in remedial classes which mark them as inadequate within their social sphere and worst within their own mind.
There is a story about a young fish that began energetically to swim in a bowl. One day the caretaker placed a barrier preventing the fish from swimming across. Valiantly the fish brushed against this barrier countless times in order that it may cross over to the other side but the barrier did not budge. Finally, the fish began to swim and did not go near the barrier. A few days latter that same caretaker took away the barrier and sadly the fish did not change its swimming patterns and continued to swim as if the barrier was there. The point is if a child gains certain assumptions about their abilities at a young age by being put in the "dumb" kids class and this is how they view remediation, then it is difficult to correct this assumption in the future years.
Others are given drugs to help them settle them down and are labelled learning disabled or suffering from attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD, ADHD). The fact that there may be nothing wrong with them or that there may be other causes for these problems is lost on many educators and parents. Understanding the system requires time and effort on the part of all, in addition to utilizing discernment of the facts in order to find out where the problem lies. Second, the problem does not always lie with the children! As the video below highlights, scientific opinions should not be presented as facts when the subject is your child. There are no objective tests that can diagnose ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), and the ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder). Most diagnoses are based on speculation whereas the problem could be environmental or even biological in nature. Therefore, these conditions may be better addressed by changing the foods the children eat, the amount of hours they sleep, the allergens they are exposed to or even the years they begin schooling.
Sweden luckily recognized the problems that occur when such as situation exists and has children beginning primary school at the age of seven. They have an educated and well adjusted work force. There are other school systems that also start educating later and they also have similar results as Sweden.

"Primary school starting age (years) in Sweden was 7.00 in 2009, according to a
World Bank report, published in 2010. The Primary school starting age
(years) in Sweden was reported at 7.00 in 2008, according to the World
Bank. Primary school starting age is the age at which students would
enter primary education, assuming they had started at the official
entrance age for the lowest level of education, had studied full-time
throughout and had progressed through the system without repeating or
skipping a grade.This page includes a historical data chart, news and
forecasts for Primary school starting age (years) in Sweden. Sweden is a
major North European economy. Sweden has achieved an enviable standard
of living under a mixed system of high-tech capitalism and extensive
welfare benefits. It has a modern distribution system, excellent
internal and external communications, and a skilled labor force.

Here are a few facts that you may not be aware of:
1. You do not have to place you child in school legally until they are 6. ( In many countries and states)
2. You can home school until you are comfortable that your child is school ready.
3. Consider helping them with the easy and fun resources. CD's, DVDs and books that are supplementary to the school systems books can help give your child fill any gaps in their knowledge.
4. The teacher has to attend to 15-20 students in the class, your child will get very little one on one teaching time. (The standard amount of time that one child gets from a teacher one on one is roughly 15 minutes a week on average in some school systems.)
4. Consider placing them in a tutoring program such as kumon for Math from an early age.

This point deserves reiteration, the fact of the matter is that children become ready to learn at different ages and at different times for different subjects. Just because your child does not learn to begin writing at age 5 does not mean that there is something wrong with him/her. Some may become ready at 10 years old for writing and others are ready at 5, this has no bearing on your child's abilities and does not mean your child does not have an affinity for the subject. Having an affinity will only become clearer later on in their preteen years. Second, you can get help with the proper resources and teaching to make your child competent in any subject. Our next article will deal with the resources that are available to help children in gaining competence in different subjects. As well as the stories of some of the mathematicians and teachers that have made these resources available, their motivations, and findings. I believe this is a good time to introduce Sir Ken Robinson's talk on education which makes a moving case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity.


Vision Without Glasses


Post a Comment