I have handled an age group of 6/7 yrs. children for 24 yrs. and have experienced the joy of teaching these cheerful, enthusiastic young learners. They have an immense capacity to grasp as much as we give them. At times we fall short in giving them much more.
These are the moulding years in their life. Hence, we have to be very careful while imparting knowledge. Being receptive by nature children absorb like a sponge all that we give them. We should be sure that we give them the correct inputs. I feel they should learn by knowing and doing which are the two sides of a coin. Children learn better through love and care. It is then that they take in fast and retain their knowledge.
We as elders need to develop the competencies of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Gradually they will master these skills. To develop these skills, they need to know more words and their meaning. Vocabulary building is the base to learn more words to express themselves. The children should be knowing at least 5000 words by this age. This can be done through various methods.
- Read out stories to them.
- Play word games.
- Help them explore new words while reading a storybook.
- Name different objects, help them talk on the object.
- Rhyming words will help them in finding new meaningful words.
Introduce the children to know action words eg. run, sit, stand, jump etc.
Besides there are describing words like happy, beautiful, cheerful, pretty etc.
Show them pictures which have a lot of activities in them. Let them talk a lot about what they see in the picture. Thus, they will also learn to speak in a sentence and express themselves. Ask them questions and let them think and answer. Encourage them if they give correct answers. This will boost their morale and gradually they will gain confidence.
Thinking is a skill that should be developed at this age. It will help them to be independent and develop love for science and gradually develop a scientific attitude which I feel is the essence of education today. Arouse their curiosity so that they will ask questions and help them in finding the correct answers. Do not give them readymade answers. Instigate their thinking power. Ask them questions like, how does it rain? It will give them a better understanding of the rain cycle, why do we see a rainbow in the sky? when do we see it? How does a tree grow? This will help them develop love for nature. Take them to a workshop to show them how a mechanic works. Show them a building site and let them see how it is built. Since a house, cars are very close to their heart they may develop an interest in knowing and by large learning. It will help them to find the cause-and-effect relationship.
Children are creative by nature; we have to just bring out their natural creativity. It will blossom only when it is stimulated and fostered. Remember thinking leads to creativity. Hence plan some activities which will bring out their creative talent. Eg. activities like salad making, sandwich making, making fruit salad, baking cakes and biscuits in front of them will help them in learning by doing. It will develop an interest in eating food and they will realize the effort behind making food items. Discuss with them to differentiate between healthy and junk food. This is the best example of learning by doing.
Now values are another factor in the development of the children. It plays an important role at this age. Values help the children to lead a quality life later. Hence values have to be instilled in them. It is easier said than done. Remember they cannot be taught in a period at school. Values like honesty, tolerance, sensitivity, love, care, share to name a few are better learnt through stories and we as elders setting an example before them. Stories from Panchatantra, Aesop fables, Arabian Nights are excellent examples to tell them. Values can also be learnt through curricular and co – curricular activities. Sports is one such field which will help them to understand the importance of winning and losing a game and the meaning of true sportsmanship. Besides sports also helps them in their physical growth. Thus the all-round development of the children is taken into consideration.
Children must learn good habits and manners to grow up as cultured, civilized citizens of the country they live in. For this we elders should set an example before them and be instrumental in getting the children to follow the good habits and manners. Eg. we must see that they wash their hands before and after meals every day, cover their mouth with a tissue paper or handkerchief while coughing and sneezing. They must learn the importance of cleanliness for good health and hygiene. They have to be polite with others and make use of the magic words like please, sorry while speaking. This is a part of upbringing and developing their behaviour. Always remember “Behaviour” comes first. An intelligent boy/girl with excellent behaviour will succeed in life.
Remember each child is different, hence needs to be handled in a different manner. Encouragement helps them to improve and build confidence. Love and support are essential in the process of learning. Motivation plays an important role in learning too. Motivate children to speak and do things they like the most. Inspire them to interact with friends and relatives.
I take this opportunity to say that let each child enjoy every activity, derive pleasure and joy from it. Let children experience the joy of learning in a stress free environment. Let their creativity bloom like a flower and let their imagination run wild. May the children have a memorable and an enjoyable childhood with enriched experiences. We as elders have a big role to play here. Let us be patient and positive in our attitude. Let us give our children the golden moments of their childhood to be filled with lovely memories to cherish lifelong. It will help them grow as honest, responsible, sensitive, tolerant, compassionate and creative human beings.
← Go back