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CHILDHOOD: 5-8 YEARS

Children of this age-group have already picked up basic attitudes to people and things. They know how to perform before elders. They have great curiosity, are very inquisitive and love activity of the play-way kind. They are in the process of developing a conscience and begin to make moral judgements. Their imagination is abundant. They love to make-believe. All that they hear or see is very real, since they are, as yet, unable to distinguish fact from fiction. They enjoy song, drama and games. They express themselves better through art. They are capable of reaching out to help and to give. They like making friends. They begin to see themselves as part of a group.

Children like:
  • play
  • stories
  • secrets, even if they don't keep them
  • pleasant surprises
  • short term activities
  • using new skills
  • whatever their friends like
  • attention and being attended to immediately

Children don't like:
  • bullies
  • favouritism by elders
  • being sent to bed
  • being lectured to

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WHEN USING...

RAPPORT:
  • Get to know the groups children like to associate with.
  • Be firm on the use of their time. Fix a period for recreation and study.
  • Enthuse them in their studies. Make learning an experience of joyful discovery.
  • Participate in their recreation.
  • Make sacrifices to attend to their needs - like cutting down on your TV watching. When you do this you are showing them that they top your priority list - not your friends, your recreation or your work.
RELIGION:
  • Already at this stage the connection between prayer and life, between love for God and concern for creation can be inculcated. Reason can help in this process. (One can learn that asking God's blessings cannot be done while holding a grudge against one's brother or sister.)
  • Encourage sharing and generosity.
  • Acquaint them with the great outdoors. Bringing them in close contact with nature in all its variety will provide them with the fundamentals of praise and worship.
  • Encourage their spontaneous childlike formulations of prayer.
  • The pluralism they find in their peer group must not be an excuse for teaching snobbishness or social discrimination. It is an occasion to educate them to accept differences as a fact and an enrichment of life.
  • Be aware of their growing sensitivity to moral right and wrong.
REASON:
  • Avoid comparing their behaviour with others. Accepting each one for his/her own uniqueness with help to build a healthy self-esteem.
  • Be excited about the new ventures they are fond of.
  • Feed their curiosity with wholesome information about facts and general knowledge.
  • Begin training for art, song, drama and dance.
  • Here too incentives for work well done are needed. Contrary to the first stage where rewards can be promised for good behaviour, here let rewards be surprises. Gradually dissociate the value of being good from being good for a reward. This will help them recognize the importance of good behaviour for its own sake (and not for pleasing the educator / parent or for being 'paid' to do good).
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