Children learn what they live
‘For the love of children’ , seeks to help parents understand the vital early childhood years
By Sachie Fernando
As every parent knows, raising children is a never-ending series of questions. What can I do to get my child to eat fruits? How do I keep my child safe? How do I teach my child the limits with the opposite sex?

A child's brain develops most dramatically during the early years of life, (till the age of 3) and parents and caregivers have a big impact during this time which makes a profound difference in their laterlives.

With this in mind, the Association of Montessori Directresses and Educators (AMDE) has organised an educational awareness programme, 'For the love of children' for parents and extended family members on Saturday, October 9 at the Sasakawa Hall, Colombo 3 from 9a.m to 1p.m. This event is being held to mark Universal Children's Day which fell on October 1.

Priya Kodippily, a counsellor will talk on the essential areas of parenting. Shanthi Wijesinghe, president of the AMDE says, "Parents must watch over their children while finding time for themselves." Research proves that children react to the surroundings they are exposed to.

First, the very nature of children's development does not lend itself to "standards". Pre-school children's development often is uneven, with development in one area outpacing development in other areas.

Furthermore, development often is sporadic. A child may make relatively little progress in one developmental area for a significant period of time and then suddenly master a series of skills or demonstrate more advanced characteristics almost overnight.

Second, children's development at this age is highly influenced by the environment, to which they are exposed, and the preschool, the child's home, community, and educational environments differ substantially.

Thirdly, early childhood pedagogy has traditionally relied on child-centred or child-initiated approaches where the learning curriculum originates from the child's own unique developmental level and interests. These are the key areas Mrs. Kodippily will talk on, to help parents discover the inner potential of their children.

Today, children eat more fat and chemicals than fruit and fibre. The hard part isn't knowing what's good to eat; it's eating what's good to eat. What's a parent to do?

" Studies have proved that learning problems in the latter part of growing up are associated with sub-standard nutrition at the early days of childhood," says Mrs. Wijesinghe. Dr. Ruwan Jayathunga, consultant on learning difficulties attached to the Army Hospital, Colombo will focus on the dangers of consumption of wrong types of food.

Ianthe Perera, a therapist for speech and language difficulties working with the 'Focus Ability' Resource Centre, Colombo will deal with the problems of coping with disabled children and those with language disorders.

Each session includes a question time where parents will have the facility of getting first- hand information from the professionals. Parents not only help a child learn, they establish rituals and routines that help develop a child's sense of security and ability to understand how the world works around them.

Parents have a duty to protect their children. The AMDE seminar aims to give parents an opportunity not just to carry out their duty but to accomplish much more. Because we all know that the first years truly last forever.

Back to Top  Back to Plus  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.