Is School sufficient to meet the learning needs of our children?

With wider choices now available for schooling of our children,a possible lack of clarity is developing in parents as to the right choice of school for their children. The search includes affordability of fee to an individual opinion of what purpose a school should meet. More wider choices of schools means more options to choose from and more schools that are better or more worse.

Parents are the best persons to choose for their children, but are they able to do the best? Some of us go by opinions of our friends/families, some feel more strict discipline at school is much better for children, some focus on academics and some on sports or extracurricular activities. Overall, everyone tries to make a decision with a focus on what is good for the future of their children. But do we ever look closely at or sensitively at our own children’s needs in terms of how our child is same or different from rest of the them? Or if placing a child in a particular school is helping or harming our children? Does the infrastructure- big building & large school grounds, digital classrooms reward or intimidate your child? It’s time for parents to think rather seriously as to what is a right choice of school for our children’s long term growth!

We as parents have to exercise the right choice if we believe learning is a life long purpose/process than restricting it to a career for survival or to develop a meaningful occupation.How many of us adults are convinced that what we learnt as kids is of use to us now for our personal or professional growth or for identity/survival purpose? We are in such a rush that our children has to meet our foregone dreams or decide their career path by 16 or 17 years or much earlier before their 10th birthday. We want to just fit our kids to an ever changing society or help them to somehow adjust to harsh realities of life, like more money, more fame, high social status and a better life without understanding the needs or pace at which the child wishes to develop. How many of us think that playing is necessary for child’s personality growth? Do we have a value system for ourselves as a family? Does our value system evolve with time or does it remain stable? Does it change as per our view at different levels in our life’s path? More questions often lead to better search or more confusion. Do we feel is it necessary to spend time so seriously when we have so many choice of schools available?

Irrespective of above questions,as parents we have responsibility to provide / expose our children to a wider system of learning.That cannot be possible in one day or one year.Listening to our children,observing their behavior or rather taking time for our children by meaningfully interacting with them will provide opportunity to question and find answers.It gives solutions to much more questions than that posed in above paragraphs.School is just one system in the process of learning but currently considered the most powerful system as it occupies /shapes our children’s lives in their rapid growing years.This is the time to sow more meaningful seeds in their tender minds.If we stop looking at academic achievement alone as the goal & expose our children to more wider areas of learning such as  less competitive sports & games to promote their physical growth needs,field trips/family tours focussed  towards natural animal/wild life exposure,(which kids can relate better), by introducing informal systems of learning , it may help to form firm basis to sciences in a practical sense. Hearing children relate their daily experiences of  routine  spent at school gives an idea of their experiences with peers, teachers &the kind of environment they are exposed & how much positive or negative experience added in their lives & how much meaningful learning happening  rather than judging them based on their progress report. Exposing children to different environments helps them & parents to figure out regarding their areas of interest such as sports,arts,music etc.This further helps  to plan right path for them.It’s not necessary to panic if child takes time to explore & decide where & what is their choice or area of interest.Inspite of our good intentions to give our children the best,if we cannot relate to them at their level of communication,our intentions may not be productive.Forcing kids to take our choices make them more dependent on us and lead to a situation where they fail to exercise their potential.A system of education that gives an impression of failure in academics is only damaging a child’s personality even before it is starting to unfold.

There is sensible need for parents to take time and think seriously about what is the best learning for a life time for their child. This has to be an individual decision that considers the individual child rather than rushing to conclusions that has effects for a life time.

Help children by introducing them to a wider world of learning not restricted to a formal classroom.

Highly Career Oriented Parents are a boon or bane to their children?

Career oriented parents maybe considered as good role models for their children but sometimes can be disastrous if children have their own dreams to fulfill or limitations in their abilities. Often, children are brought to clinical attention for psychological evaluation with stress related to perceived expectations even though not obviously spoken by or demanded by their parents. Unspoken influences by parents seem to bother children especially in the teenage group. Often, parents talk to their friends about their children (in the presence of the child) as to how he/she stood first in a game/academic performance, indirectly suggesting the child that he/she will be appreciated when in limelight. The growing teenager with an unfolding temperament of wnating to be accepted and appreciated may be sensitive to such statements. Often, conversations between adults focus on “how many children do you have, what do they do, which school they are in” without any malicious intent but possibly leading to unforeseen consequences. Parents may also consider their children spending time with their friends without engaging in any meaningful “academic” or “competitive activity” as a waste of time or being aimless.

Can parents recognize this change in their child (a drop in motivation) with their own stress, the limited time spent with children, lack of common routine with time shared together? Sometime of a day or at least a day in a week should be set aside for everyone to share their day. This could be structured or unstructured with the focus on sharing both the perceived gains or good stuff as well as the perceived pains or bad stuff.  These sessions may also help to understand specific needs of children. The focus of such sessions is to share and listen and not to sermonize or be judgmental thus encouraging children to feel free to open up about their experiences.

There is a need for parents to recognize that career is important but it alone does not make their child a well groomed or well adjusted personality in future.  Spending quality time together even if it is just talking is a great stress buster for children, quality time will imply that one parents do not multitask during this time period.

Often, parents want children to follow their own career paths so that a separate foundation for career need not be laid, children can just piggy back onto their parents career. Although the intention is often to have their children settle faster and not have to go through the same growing pains, this may sometimes be at the cost of the child’s own dreams and their abilities or limitations.

Success is often a perceptional point of view that will vary with each individual. People can be successful in one aspect of life and be considered as failures in another aspect of life. Showing sensitivity towards your child’s dreams and aspirations may help them reach their full potential and make them a happy person.