When a child moves from the early years classroom to the primary classroom it’s very tempting for all concerned – teachers and parents – to perceive that there’s a whole lot of ‘babyish’ learning to be left behind and that now they should move on fully to the more grown up business of learning lots of ‘stuff’.
However, if that were true, then wouldn’t all adults be walking around with perfect interpersonal skills, listening to each other, being sensitive and thoughtful, sharing properly, respecting others’ property and their own, managing their emotions effectively and being nice to others.
The fact is, these are skills that take practice. One really feels for educators who have been screaming these messages from the rooftops for many many years and have hardly been listened to, swamped in the sea of pursuit of the next 1% on children’s grades.
Jenny Mosely, the originator of ‘Quality Circle Time’ has known this for a very long time and has been advocating that Circle Time was not just a valuable practice for very young children, but all the way to higher secondary.
So, it really doesn’t surprise me when I come across articles like this one:
I believe the article is absolutely correct to draw attention to the fact that weakness in these critical skills has negative impacts on academic achievements and longer term economic achievements. The reality is that where education systems don’t give due attention to these issues throughout the years of schooling, it will produce students who will struggle to fulfil their potential.
Time spent on social and emotional skills and the development of self-regulatory habits, effective skills of studying and learning (including understanding how the brain works) is time well spent to ‘sharpen the saw’ so that children can truly excel.