4) Social skills: I saw children coping up well with formal education. Many were well accepted at regular schools. I found very few doing well socially. The reasons behind are;
- We have compartments in our mind set & doing well at school is the most important milestone compulsory for the child to achieve.
- We want to measure the child and for us the most accurate parameter is SCHOLASTIC PERFORMANCE.
- We are very much worried and concerned about the academics and forget to inculcate the social skills.
- We push the child to do better in school and that makes the learning sessions difficult, boring and burdensome.
- We feel stressed out...we transfer the same to the child... this adds to the difficulties.....learning becomes a hell...the vicious cycle sets in..!!!
- To express the frustrations child acts rebelliously. Denial, temper tantrums, too much of self-talk, making monotonous sounds, inappropriate social behavior are the outcome.
Now what is done at schools or therapy centers?
- How to brush your teeth?
- What is personal hygiene?
- Few activities for smaller muscles of the hand.
- Few rhymes.
- Colour sorting.
- Shape sorting.
- Days of the week.
- Few things about our environment like knowing about animals,birds, fruits, vegetables....
- Numbers & Alphabet.....and few more things
It is important to understand that all these learning can come to you naturally if you remove the compartment called ACADEMICS/FORMAL LEARNING.
Think about the learning when child does everything on his/her own since morning. Think about the level of confidence the child gains!!
FORMAL LEARNING IS
A BYPRODUCT OF SOCIAL LEARNING.
IS NOT TRUE.
How doing everything on his/her own helps the child develop the social skill & thereby the formal learning?
When child is doing things on his/her own, he/she gets connected with the surrounding. Now the child is inquisitive about knowing the things. This increases his interest in his environment which ultimately enhances the ability to observe. Child is aware of the happenings and learn through observation. The positive cycle of feeling connected>being inquisitive>getting interested>to observe>to be aware>to learn....sets in. This helps the child to copy the acceptable behaviors and positive social skills.
Including the child in routine helps the child to know about numbers, alphabets, days of the week, names of the common birds/animals/fruits/vegetables...etc.
Distribute the house-hold work among family members. While completing the task, gross motor & fine motor exercises would be a byproduct.This will help the child to raise his self-image,self-esteem & self-confidence.
We used to include Palak in each and everything happening around since she was 3 month old. 'Palak, today is Monday I got up late..its already 7.',' As Diwali is approaching, the days are becoming shorter.', ' My red coloured dress faded, I'll have to throw it.', 'This is June, next would be July, I'll have to keep umbrella in my car, it can rain anytime.', 'yesterday three sparrow came in our balcony, today there is only one.', ' Mom is not going to have lunch today so will have to arrange only 4 plates.' As she grew, she was supposed to help us as per her age. Filling of fridge bottles, making bed, folding cloths, arranging vessels, offering water to guest etc. By the time she got admission in Jr. KG at 4 years of age, she knew the formal syllabus of first standard or may be more, practically. She knew days of the week, months of the year, seasons of the year, different shapes, different colours, domestic & wild animals, birds, fruits, vegetables, our helpers...etc. She was able to count meaningfully.... and nothing was taught specially. She just learned by doing things on her own. She is always interested in her surroundings & so she keeps on learning new skills even today. Our efforts to keep her connected with her environment resulted in a very good social skills. She is spontaneous, she is all the time aware, very good in observations and above all we have never seen her sitting idly.
Learning is a process & it is multidimensional. The heading 'education/formal learning/academics' is stress inducing. Remove the compartments and just help the child to live his/her daily life effectively. This will bring so many positive & useful byproducts in your life naturally....
If you keep on pushing the child for formal learning & neglect the social skills, society would not accept the child. Nobody would mind if one is not good at numbers/language/colours/maths/science etc....but if not good in social skills/behavior, it becomes difficult for people to accept the child for a longer time....
WE WANT AN INCLUSIVE SOCIETY
FOR OUR CHILDREN
HOW CAN WE FORGET TO INCULCATE
SOCIAL SKILLS IN THEM...!!!