The Best Years for Learning
During the child's years of great intellectual development, we, as adults, have a serious obligation. Not to teach academic subjects, but instead to put the child into contact with life and his or her responsibility to live and be of service to humankind.
If we lose this opportunity, it doesn't matter how much knowledge the child gains. A depth of understanding of the role of each human being is what is most important to the child. This adage says it: ''They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.'' We do not want to feed the mind and neglect the nourishment of the heart.
To help the six- to twelve-year-old child make this contact with life, we must become ''storytellers of the truth.'' We have a human being to enthuse and excite about the greatest adventure in the universe—life.
We tell stories not full of facts but full of drama. We tell stories of the universe coming into being, the earth being formed, life coming to earth and the two special gifts of human beings—intelligence and love. We dramatize the story of human communication through language and mathematics.
As adults, we connect the child through stories of life and his or her unique part in the story. When we can enthuse and excite the child with stories, a wonderful transformation occurs in the mind of the child.
History becomes the adventure of people, the child included on the leading edge. Geography becomes the story of the creation of the earth and its continued change. Social studies become the stories of how people meet their fundamental needs of food, protection and love. Biology is the story of life. Math becomes the language of invention, exploration and order. Physics is the story of the movement of objects throughout the universe. The arts show us how to express our stories without words, using pictures, music and movement.
We have this responsibility to connect the child to the mystery, the excitement and the drama—the drama of possibilities of the human being.
Deep in our hearts, each of us knows this truth: We don't care how much you know until we now how much you care.
Show our children how to delight in this amazing adventure called life. The mind will follow the heart.
Next week: The Truth of the Tattle Tale
From last week
A riddle: Using Roman numerals, answer this question: ''What should every good boy and girl be?''
Kids Talk™ is a column dealing with early childhood development issues written by Maren Stark Schmidt. Mrs. Schmidt founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland.
She has over 25 years experience working with young children and holds teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She is also Creative Director for a video-based reading series for children ages three to six, The Shining Light Reading Series. Contact her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete Collection of the Shining Light Reading Series Now Available on DVD
Visit www.shininglightreading.com for more information.
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