School Children Have Special Needs

Table of contents

Kids over the age of 6 are usually referred to as “school kids.” In fact, however, they are still much more than that. First and foremost, they are children. As such, they not only have the need to learn, but also to be themselves. In addition to the education of children, it is therefore also important for them to be cared for in a way that is appropriate to their age and takes into account their individual developmental stages.

At the center of children’s needs is the desire for reliable relationships. In addition, schoolchildren entering first grade or preschool intuitively have a number of other demands on their lives that they need to be supported in fulfillingt support.

Positive Learning Environment

Children want to learn on their own. However, they don’t want to learn fairy tales; they have an urge to acquire knowledge about the real world. Elementary school kids strive to become more independent and understand how life “works”.

This natural urge to learn must be encouraged and maintained. This is only possible if the child can have positive experiences in his or her learning environment and remain motivated.

At School

Many kids are very afraid of failing in school. A number of significant studies have already addressed this issue. On this basis, it can be concluded that negative experiences at primary school age could have dangerous effects on the child’s personality.

It is true that today we are witnessing a shift towards child-centered teaching, which is intended to prepare kids for life itself. Beyond that, however, there needs to be a fair amount of empathy as well as sufficient supervision in school. Due to the increasing demands on teaching staff and simultaneous cuts in personnel, there is not always a climate in elementary school classrooms that is conducive to learning.

At this point, we ask the very specific question: What requirements must the school learning environment meet in order to do the best possible justice to the child without taking away his or her desire to learn?

Answering this question is easier if the following grievances are pointed out.

This is NOT what an elementary school child needs, especially in the early years:

  • Constant disciplining by yelling or scolding.

  • Lessons according to a fixed pattern, the same lessons for everyone.

  • Pure frontal teaching without variety.

  • Little material-related teaching and hardly any excursions.

Conversely, this results in a clear profile of child-oriented teaching:

  • Lessons with illustrative objects and expert guests (e.g., history professors who tell children in a child-friendly way how World War II could have happened) as well as practice-oriented excursions.

  • Opportunities for the child to determine the level of difficulty of his or her tasks individually (e.g. in free work).

  • Small class size (means more teacher attention to each child, more individualized instruction, and time for extra-curricular discussions).

  • social learning based on current occasions in class or world events (e.g., around the topic “Why are so many people living in war?” Or, “Why shouldn’t people steal?”.

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Which Schools Meet This Standard?

In teacher training, value is generally placed on the above points. Nevertheless, the reality looks different. Parents should therefore definitely look at several schools and, if possible, at the teaching activities on site themselves before deciding on a school. Alternative forms of teaching are currently gaining more and more importance. Among them: The traditional multi-grade class based on the village model. Until recently, it was not considered chic to place one’s child in an artificially constructed multi-grade class. This was because the only real reason for its existence was where there were too few children to run a separate class for each school level. In the meantime, however, the concept of a multi-grade class is also appreciated outside the village. Why? Simply because it can meet the above-mentioned requirements for a child-friendly learning environment better than separate classes for different school levels:

– Smaller class size.

– Teaching in small groups is easier.

– High proportion of independent, free work by the kids.

– Thus more individualized instruction.

– Learning from each other, explaining things to each other.

– Multi-grade classes now also exist in cities at many public elementary schools.

You At Home

When it comes to parenting, be consistent with the classroom teacher as much as possible. Especially in the elementary school years, kids depend on consistency in education. Otherwise, they have trouble keeping track of the contradictory world of adults and, in the worst case, become completely frustrated. The child must not feel that he or she can never please everyone and that he or she is constantly being reprimanded, because in the long run his or her self-confidence would suffer as a result.

Instead, work with the classroom teacher and show the child what is expected of him or her through specific educational measures. Parents’ evenings and open debates with the class teacher contribute to better cooperation and should therefore definitely be used and understood as an offer of cooperation work.

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Apart from education, the learning environment in the home environment must also be suitable to enable the child to reach his or her potential. In plain language, this means that the child needs the following, among other things:

  • A bright, friendly learning environment.

  • A balance to learning: opportunity and time to play and frolic.

  • Sufficient privacy or a room of their own.

  • Support and protection in or by the family.

  • His or her place and role in the family (the child should not be placed in the role of an adult if he or she is a single parent).

In addition, parents should be mindful of the points explained in detail below.

Affection And Attention

Although elementary school children are more independent and responsible in their daily tasks, they need just as much attention as kindergarten children. In the first period after starting school, they even need a lot of praise and recognition so that they don’t lose their desire to go to school during this difficult time.

The relationship with parents is still of the utmost importance at this age. Many elementary school kids would like to have.ZAt home, they would like to be listened to more and given more time.Asstrangely enough, kids with unemployed parents complain more often that they don’t get enough attention from their parents than kids whose parents are employed. The difference between desire and reality is particularly stark when it comes to everyday conversations that serve only to gossip. In other words, our kids want more time to be spent talking to them about the little things in life “What was going on at school today?”.

This need stems primarily from the changes in kids’ daily lives. When they start school, they experience many situations that are beyond their parents’ control. Problems, various experiences and fears of the child must now be discussed in order to offer the child security. That’s why afternoon gossip is so important for elementary school kids.

Playing And Romping

Children not only need mental challenges, they also want to be physically active. An afternoon program of piano lessons, math tutoring and doing homework does not meet this need. Despite the current ubiquitous ädespite the current pressure to perform, which begins in elementary school, the importance of physical balance for kids should not be underestimated. Children who have “no time” or opportunity to exercise cannot relieve their stress, and as a result, their ability to concentrate gradually deteriorates. So if you ask a child to constantly devote themselves only to academic and mental challenges, sooner or later you will achieve the opposite of what you wanted: A drop in performance instead of an increase in performance.

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Almost all the needs that affect us adults are also felt in this way by children. So it is neither fair nor just to the child to deny him or her the opportunity to romp and play, even though we ourselves are aware of the need for physical activity.

Designing And Being Creative

Kids have an extensive imagination on their own. The ability to imagine abstract things and perhaps even translate them into reality needs to be trained and nurtured. If a child has no opportunity to be creative, not only will the associated skills and abilities stagnate or even atrophy, but so will the imagination itself.

The school does partially fulfill the requirement of providing the child with space for creativity. However, the teaching time for creative design is usually far too limited. In addition, despite a paradigm shift in teacher training, some educators do not allow for individuality. Time and again, their work is touched up by the teacher to better suit his or her interpretation of the subject. Not infrequently, kids then have no chance to finish their ideas and create something new and individual. Thus, even at elementary school age, many fall prey to the misconception that it is not attractive to break new ground and take thinking into one’s own hands.

That’s why creative design is not just a hobby to pass the time, but an important part of (personality) education for kids.

Recognition And Praise

Learning progressritrecognizing learning progress and compensating for weaknesses through targeted support – that has long been the motto in elementary school teaching. What applies in school should also be reflected in home education.

If your child brings home a poor grade, show your trust in him or her nonetheless. Make your child understand that failures are part of life and take the necessary steps together to get back on track.

Reprimands and punishments have a discouraging effect, damage the relationship of trust and, moreover, are exhausting for all parties. If a child repeatedly violates agreements or tries to test his or her limits, measures must follow that are comprehensible to the child. As a parent, it is best to react with a consequence that is directly related to the rule violation and contributes to the improvement of the situation. This has a more meaningful effect than clumsy punishment with a TV ban and house arrest.

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Exploring The World

Children have an innate drive to learn and play. They want to experience and explore the world with all their senses.

To do this, it is sometimes necessary to ask adults uncomfortable questions. If the child is to grow up in an environment that is appropriate for him or her, he or she must be allowed to ask such questions. In doing so, it should not have to feel unwelcome or cheeky. It is not only important for the expansion of the little ones’ horizons to give their questions the space they need. In addition, their self-confidence is strengthened when they experience confirmation in this way by seeing that “it’s okay to be curious.” Only in this way does a child’s sense of adventure have a chance of being maintained into adolescence, so that interest in lifelong learning is not lost.

Processing What Has Been Experienced

Every day, children are confronted with situations, information, world views and people that are completely new to them. This begins in infancy and reaches its peak in puberty, when they begin to question everything even more critically.

To be able to process what they have experienced, kids need the opportunity to talk to adults they trust. This enables them to resolve inner discrepancies and understand the world a little better. New insights can always be a burden that both adults and children have to deal with. An open conversation in a loving, understanding atmosphere helps the child to be able to categorize the many new thoughts.

Just like the conversation, it also requires sufficient sleep and rest. Children need the opportunity to withdraw from time to time. At the same time, they should not be pressured to constantly occupy themselves with other kids. Because, although we adults also tend to forget this fact: Everyone has both introverted and extroverted parts within themselves, which they have to live up to in order to feel balanced. This is no different with children. In addition, each child’s personality means that he or she deals differently with demanding situations and occasional chaos of thought. If the child intuitively withdraws to process the events of the day, then this behavior should not be chalked up to him. On the other hand, there are many kids who need lots of exercise, sports and play to really feel good.

Photo: monkeybusinessimages / bigstockphoto.com

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