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ISSP sharing ways to help children develop comprehensively

Children need extra-curricular activities, connections, exchanges and feelings to develop comprehensively, from academics to social connections or personality.

A child’s brain is constantly developing and learning, absorbing information from the surrounding environment such as family, teachers and friends. Therefore, it is important for all-round children development that schools and parents must address the overall needs of children to help them develop the necessary strategies, skills and mindsets. Even when faced with challenges, children can quickly solve problems.

Children need to develop comprehensively, from theoretical knowledge to emotions, personality, social connection and so on.
Children need to develop comprehensively, from theoretical knowledge to emotions, personality, social connection and so on. (Source: Internet)

Just focusing on academic knowledge is not enough

Speaking at the award ceremony Deborah Meier, early childhood development expert, professor at Lesley University (USA) – Nancy Carlsson-Paige said that play is disappearing from the classroom. Although people know it is a way of learning for young children, it has been pushed aside to make way for academic teaching. Instead of being hands-on, children now sit in chairs too much to delve into numbers and letters.

“Stress levels in young children have increased. Parents and teachers tell me that children worry when they don’t know the right answers; have nightmares; cry because they don’t want to go to school, etc.”, she added.

Especially, in the context of the Covid-19 outbreak around the world, many parents feel more and more worried about cultivating knowledge in their children. According to a survey by Pew Research in the US from February to July, 61% of adult participants think that students are likely to fall behind in terms of knowledge without direct instruction.

In Vietnam, many parents also think that learning online with teachers at school is not enough and are looking for many solutions to supplement knowledge for children. Ms. Nguyet Anh (Dong Da, Hanoi), whose child is in 2nd grade, said that she was worried that her child would not be able to keep up with the knowledge in class when she had to study online for a long time, so she hired a tutor to teach overtime for her child. Although it is still online, her daughter has more time to study and answer questions when needed.

Sharing about this, Ms. Tiffany Proctor, Vice Principal of International School Saigon Pearl (ISSP) – the high quality and prestigious international school of Ho Chi Minh City, said that online learning is the optimal solution for education in this situation. Parents’ anxiety is understandable because online education is still a challenge for many schools.

However, every child needs to be equipped with both a solid foundation of knowledge and important life skills to reach their full potential. Therefore, schools and parents should create an environment that develops knowledge, social connection, emotional, physical, spiritual and identity.

Children need to explore and develop social and emotional skills

Ms. Tiffany also encourages parents to create conditions for their children to discover and research on their own under the guidance of teachers and families. “Above all, in addition to time spent on academic knowledge, children need to develop physically, emotionally, and personally, etc.”, ISSP Vice Principal affirmed.

Children need time to develop physically, emotionally, personality, etc. beside learning academic knowledge.
Children need time to develop physically, emotionally, personality, etc. beside learning academic knowledge. (Source: Internet)

Parents should not be so worried about their children falling behind in terms of knowledge that they forget about other aspects of development. According to the Center for Family Engagement – PTA Non-Profit Association (USA), a study has shown that building students’ social and emotional skills is significantly related to academic performance.

At ISSP, for the comprehensive development of children, the school allows students to control their own learning process under the guidance and exchange of teachers. They actively decide what and how they learn, what the goals are. Teachers only play the role of facilitating and supporting students to thoroughly research the topic they want. Thus, children will have more motivation to study, plan and find suitable learning methods, thereby promoting critical thinking, life skills, social communication, etc.

Above all, the school also pushes students to find their own way in every situation. For example, the teacher would talk to children about the best approach to a particular task, then ask them to describe how they solved the problem; or bring up a situation where it went wrong and allow the child to take a personal course of action.

At the same time, children can develop emotions through specific programs and activities in each subject such as gratitude, compassion, love for nature and people, etc. Students are free to express their emotions and improve spirit through many different ways such as writing letters to teachers, relatives, friends; take care of trees, etc.

Activities to develop emotions, personality, physical, etc. should also be maintained throughout the time of online learning at home. Kristin Wegner, Student Support Coordinator of International School Saigon Pearl, affirmed that, in the current Covid-19 context, children’s mental as well as social-emotional health is a factor that should be taken seriously by adults. Therefore, parents should help children focus on cultivating knowledge within the school’s prescribed learning time frame. Outside of this time, parents need to focus on developing other aspects.

In addition, the school maintains the same schedule of physical classes but has flexible changes to suit the individual home space, ensuring the safety of children such as practicing movements on the spot, yoga, etc. This activity helps children improve their health, discipline and reduce stress.

In addition, community connection is also an important factor for children’s development. According to a survey by Professor Jack Shonkoff (Harvard University, USA), children’s interactions with the community strongly influence cognitive development and healthy psychological health. This stems from attachment and interest in people and things around.

In this respect, ISSP implements through extracurricular activities, visits to stimulate curiosity and self-discovery of young children. When implementing social distancing, schools and parents create a virtual connection space for children, schedule quality time for conversations and meetings between teachers – students or students. Students can read a book or watch a movie together.

Source: https://www.issp.edu.vn/international-schools-ho-chi-minh-city

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