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The Mind in Child

The Mind in Child

Children are sponges. They take in everything they see and everything they hear, then process it through their brains to understand what they’ve experienced. They remember so much more than we often give them credit for.

That being said, what adults dealing with children can so easily forget is that each child is on his or her own path. Each child develops at a different pace than the children around them.

I don’t even need to do research to know this is true. I see it every day in my Kindergarten class. I have twenty students who are moving at twenty different speeds. Now, some of this is due to age. I have two students who are, quite literally, a year apart in age. However, the difference in speeds is mostly related to physical and mental development.

I have five students in my class whose birthdays are all within ten days of each other. One of them reads way above grade level, one is just slightly above grade level, and the other three are reading below grade level, with each of them at a slightly different place.

None of these children is in a troubling situation, unless you’re the county I work in, which wants all the kids to be at a specific level when they finish Kindergarten. A couple of them may not make it to benchmark. And that’s okay.

As a teacher, I wish The Powers That Be would recognize that each and every child is different. They all have a different make-up, and they all come from different backgrounds. These factors mean that while some children will progress at a rate that makes meeting that June benchmark a breeze, some children may not. And it’s worth repeating–that’s okay.

School is about more than just learning how to read and learning how to count on command. It should be about looking at where a child is and nurturing him or her from that point. It should be about learning to be kind and learning to work with others. It should be about building stamina (at their own pace) and improving focus (again, at their own pace).

However, for those in power–many of them never having stepped foot in a classroom–it’s all about the numbers. The closer to one hundred percent of kids reading at benchmark, the better. Damn the stress this puts on both children and teachers.

A child whose mind works differently or works slower can become discouraged early. It does not take long for these children to realize that they aren’t progressing at the same speed as their peers. They are often pulled out to work with different teachers and pushed every day to gain traction. All when their minds may just not be quite ready yet.

It’s time to keep the mind of the child in mind. Recognize that each child is unique and may just need longer to get to their learning destination than others. They’ll get there. In their own time. And that’s okay.

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