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New age children: a conversation

Dear Ramya & Viji,

I find it difficult to know what to say in a few words. I did check out the Idscovery website and it sounds good. But again, it all comes down to the people directly involved with the children.

My work comes from the study of the brain and the "new children" with which we are all dealing with now. It isn't well understood that these children are advanced in their evolutionary development from the children that most educational programs are based. All the people mentioned, like Montessori worked with childen born in the early 1900s. I totally respect Sri Aurobindo and Krishnamurty and their philosophy. But applying that philosophy is another thing. Howard Gardner has been researching teaching methods for years. He is respected by the educational system. It would definitely help the teachers to read his books.

To begin with let me say that the children are advanced in their insight and "know" when the people around them are sincere. The teachers MUST be positive, non-judgmental and nurturing or they will be shut out regardless of the curriculum. That means NO negative statements. If there is a disagreement with children over a toy or whatever, the teacher must give both the parties their respect by helping them create their own solution by asking them 'what can we do to solve this problem" etc. There are NO don'ts. For example, don't run - can be phrased such as "running is for outside, we walk here."

Another area is competition. It seems that each wants to do better or at least not be behind. The best solution is to teach the children that they only compete with themselves. So if a child is behind another or comes in last, the way to handle this is to talk about "personal best.." The child will feel much better when he can be told that he did this much better than last time, so is praised for doing his personal best. The winner can be praised also IF he did his personal best.

Children do not have the language to express their feelings and need to have someone assist them when little incidents come up. This is where great philosophies are difficult to apply. But today's children are extremely sensitive and much more aware then most adults realize. When classroom problems come up - ask the children how to solve them. Write down their suggestions and you will be amazed at some of the solutions they present. Let the children be apart of the days programing and not just participants of things given to them. Yes, a curriculum needs to be followed but there are ways such as to tell them "today we are going to do such as such, which do you want to do first" etc.

I know that you are all trained to teach preschoolers and I respect that. My suggestions are only supplementary and to bring an awareness that you may not know - today's children are different than in the past when you were a child.

I hope that these are helpful and if I can be of any further assistance just let me know. I appreciate that you want to seek anything that will be helpful to your project.

Patricia Theisen

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