Think for a moment about the qualities you want your child to have developed by the time they reach young adulthood. What kind of person do you hope your child will be? Usually when we ask parents or teachers this question, we get a rather consistent list that looks about like this:
- Critical thinker
- Pursues learning for the sake of learning
- Problem solver
When we keep in mind the big picture of how we want our children to develop and grow into successful citizens, we realize that our task as parents and educators is so much bigger and more important than we could have anticipated. That’s because these skills don’t necessarily come automatically. They are learned, and in order for children to gain proficiency at any skill, it must be taught and practiced.
At Sparrow, one of our goals is to teach children the skills they need in order to become the type of world citizen reflected in that list above. At age six or even nine, they still have quite a lot to learn, wouldn’t you say? And that’s how it should be. This is their work.
How many of your children learned to brush their teeth after the very first time you taught them? Chances are, you had to show them many times, model it for them, help them, watch them, and remind them. In other words, it took a lot of teaching, re-teaching, and practice.
Social skills are no different. They require lots of teaching, modeling, help, reminders and practice, practice, practice. That’s why, at Sparrow, we embrace Jane Nelsen’s Positive Discipline approach, which is a way of understanding children’s behavior and using it to teach them these vital social skills.
While our staff is in various stages of training and proficiency in implementing this rich body of knowledge, we are working to continually deepen our understanding and proficiency through trainings, self-study, and teacher study groups. We hope parents will take up the cause, as well, through reading, taking advantage of local Positive Discipline trainings being offered around the county, and forming parent study groups.
Many resources, including a new online course, are available on Positive Discipline.com.
Submitted by Alexis Ahrens, 3rd grade teacher