I recently had a birthday. My sister posted the attached picture on my Facebook with a birthday wish. What memories that photo created. I was in the 5th grade. For some reason, I see my 5th grade year as being one of the happiest times for me. Moreover, Of all they school photos over the years, I loved this photo the best.
So many things are happening during 5th grade and into the middle school years. Puberty, Boys, Friendships, Grades, Maturity, Independence. Growth and Development. Brings me back to a discussion I was having with an applicant seeking a position at the learning center. She shared she was unsure about which age group she wanted to teach in the long run. I made comparison between 2 and 3 year olds with middle school aged children. Not at all stating that middle schoolers act 2 or 3, that would be insulting; but to look at each group to understand why both age groups are so frequently misunderstood.
I’ve learned both via text and personal experience that the age groups have similarities with child growth and development. Both stages, the children are trying to ‘find’ themselves. Who are they? What interest them? They are curious to learn more about whats around them. This age group is developing mentally,socially, physically and emotionally and have to learn how to deal with all of that. Additionally, both groups are developing a level of independence and confidence to want to do everything themselves or make their own decisions. Most important of all, both groups require patience from parents and educations, in addition to love and a little extra understanding for us adults. In short, I explained to the applicant that working in early child care just may prepare her for her future endeavor of working with middle school aged children should her career path point her into that direction.
Other favorites of my childhood include a book written Dr. Seuss titled, ” In a People House,” I could read that story 1000 times and come up with a different ending. I used to picture myself walking through the house, each room offering a new adventure. The mirror affect inside the front cover of room after room after room amazed me. I told myself when I grown up, I would have a house just like that one. I never had a house like that as an adult, but every time I have the opportunity to read that story to someone, the memories flood my head and the adventure begins.
I believe my childhood experience make up the person I am today. Positive memories like 5th grade and this book helped shaped me over time. Yes, there were other factors and perimeters that shaped me as well. However, positive childhood experience can direct a child in the way most appropriate than not. As a result, my practice is to ‘be intentional and purposeful when educating young children’. They are at an age where they are ready to learn. To other educators, I implore you to step out of your comfort zone when teaching young children. Don’t be afraid to learn something new to pass on to them. You never know, one day they just might write a blog about it.