Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Your Baby has a Brain

'How deep we prepare our children for education is how high of a capacity they have to grow.'  Lockley

Changing the focus of raising our children has to move from physical abilities to cognitive abilities. To be competitive in the global economy our children must have brain stimulation as early as in the mother's womb. Environment is a contributing factor to brain stimulation in infants and children. The ability to stimulate our child's early learning prepares them for the more rigorous curriculum that are now being implemented.

Our child is left behind because as parents we depend on the system to teach and train them what parents should have already done. In my past observations, I have noticed that children who achieve in school are mostly the ones that have had brain stimulation away from school. For example, a toddler entering Pre-K is expected to learn the basic skills in forming language, comprehension, and critical thinking. In a setting where all the Pre-K students are learning the alphabets, a prepared child would immediately connect what the parent taught them to where the teacher is taking them in language development.

It is every teachers dream to have a classroom full of students that are prepared for enrichment and critical thinking activities. A prepared child is a knowledgeable one with the ability to grow cognitively at or above their peers. I am a product of home preparation for learning. My mother invested in a phonetic program which allowed me to become an advanced reader by second grade. Another student was also enriched with this phonetic program and was an excellent reader. We both read fluently and moved quickly through the reading program levels. The teacher recommended that we be allowed to leave the reading class and go into the high school classroom for reading. It was an rewarding and yet embarrassing feeling each day as we climbed into those huge desk and opened the reading book to the selected story. The procedure was for each student to read two sentences and the person seated directly behind in the row would read the next two sentences. The high school students began to read and I couldn't believe what I was hearing. A large percentage of them were having trouble reading the text. Some read a word and paused to pronounce the next, others mispronounced words, and a few couldn't read at all. It was my turn. I put my finger on the first sentence and read fluently. Everyone in the class turned to look at me as I read their textbook without any trouble. Whispering around the room could be heard as the students were puzzled at how a second grader read on their level. I wasn't a genius, I was prepared. My mother took her "hard to come by" money and  brought me the tools I needed to excel.

You as parents can do the same with your children. My advanced reading skills provided for more enriched teaching time. My advanced reading skills allow me to become a great elementary math student. Many times in elementary my math teacher Mrs. B. would summon me to the board to work "complicated" multiplication, division, and percentage problems. What I didn't realize is that teachers were gathered at the window of the classroom door watching me work math on the chalkboard. I was not a genius, I was prepared.

In the global economy, we have a wealth of information online to assist in preparing our child for school. No child should be left behind. As an educator I do agree that there are some teachers who are not skilled at teaching children of other ethnic groups. Some are prejudice. Some are bias. Some are not teachers. Once a student falls behind in any subject area, he or she will not advance without going back and learning what was missed. Building a skyscrapers takes a great foundation. We look these massive and tall buildings in amazement because we know it took a great amount of effort to complete such a project. We many of us don't think about is the depthness of the foundation of the skyscraper. An engineer told me that as high as the beams are above the ground, they are just as deep in the ground. If that holds true, then it applies to our child's brain development.

How deep we prepare our children for education is how high of a capacity they have to grow. A teacher has to work with what you send to them. We expect miracles, we expect teachers to walk on water, and raise your child from the dead when that is not their job. A teacher's job is to facilitate your child's learning through a systematic predefined curriculum designed by specialist. The learning experiences in the classroom are designed to prepare students for future continual growth and to become good contributing citizens. After all, schools use tax dollars to pay the bills.

Erric Lockley, Sr.,
PhD Educational Leadership

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