By Beth Pinyerd
Summer is a time as a parent or family that we can truly observe and get to know our children better. We are not on the treadmill of school and activities schedules. It provides a more laid-back time for parents and grandparents to observe our children and grandchildren.
Spending time with your children is such a blessing that they will always remember and keep in their hearts. While teaching children this summer, I love sitting back and getting to know the uniqueness of each of my classroom children as we enjoy summer activities, crafts, stories and movies.
As a teacher, I am called not only to teach the “school smart” of teaching daily lessons so children do well on paper and pencil tasks, but I am also called to teach the whole child in recognizing and helping a child use their talents and gifts. As parents and teachers, we must realize that children have natural gifts in one or more areas and it’s our teacher and parental jobs to help our children discover and develop these talents and gifts. What a challenge, but a rewarding experience each teacher and parent has in helping a little life develop to its fullest potential.
As parents, you can begin to recognize your children’s natural talents and gifts at a young age. We never quit learning how to teach children how to learn. I deeply appreciate over the many years I have taught, the mentoring I still receive from seasoned educators and child specialists who understand the importance of teaching the whole child. I would like to share ways to look at your child and encourage them in their growth and development.
- Language – Children love to express themselves with words and storytelling. I encourage all my students to express themselves through creative writing stories or poems with pictures. With younger students, don’t get hung up on the correct spelling or grammar because you want them to have the freedom to creatively express themselves. Correct spelling and grammar rules can be picked up later for young children. At a young age, the main focus is to encourage your young child to express themselves. Children love to express themselves through puppets or role playing.
- Math – Some children have the natural inclination toward reasoning, counting, quick math computation and quick logical reasoning of math problems and systems. Of course, a teacher realizes that “practice makes perfect” but some children are more prone to analyze things.
- Music – I love to hear my little students hum as they do their work. Children who are attracted to and fascinated by sounds and musical instruments usually have a natural tendency to perform music in singing or playing instruments.
- Physical – At recess as a teacher, I love to see my students and children run and play freely. As I’ve said in previous columns, play is a child’s work. Some children seem to be prone to participate and truly enjoy organized sports.
- Artistic – There are children in my classroom that are attuned to visual detail in everything they see and are able to draw what they see on paper. Many times these “little artists” are very good at illustrating stories they read. These children are attracted to quick activities including painting, drawing on paper mural or making Kleenex sculptures. As a parent and teacher, be sure to highly praise these children who have put so much effort in their masterpieces.
When you are positive and praise your children it encourages them to shoot for the stars! What a privilege we have in sharing with our children the joy of learning.