DEVELOPING LEARNING FACILITATION CENTER: STAGES OF A CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT

8 May

(THE BELOW DISCUSSION WAS THROUGH EMAIL WITH A GROUP ENGAGED IN DEVELOPING A LEARNING FACILITATION CENTER FOR CHILDREN FROM ZERO TO 10 YEARS OF AGE FROM NATURAL AND ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE)

We can divide 0-10 yrs of child growth in three stages: 0 to 4 yrs (The intense observation stage), 4-7 yrs (The external communication stage) and 7-10 yrs (The launching age into world)

0-4 Yrs of age – THE INTENSE OBSERVATION STAGE:

At this stage, the child is very actively trying to make sense of the world around. This is very active period for development of logic framework of any person. If you recall, the logic frame work of a person plays vital role in a person’s accepting or rejecting any statement, idea or thought. The nature is 100% logical, because it has been created by The Creator or Rab al aalameen Himself. Please recollect the law of cause and effect which was discussed earlier. This logic framework is the most important faculty in human which decides what a person is going to really believe and act upon. In other words this is called furqan. The child is in intense observation state and learns mostly from nature and environment itself. At this age the child is programmed to learn by herself or himself, it does not appreciate your external intervention and even protests if you try giving any help in learning. The child will try to copy the people that he loves and feels secure and safe with. That is why a child should remain as much close to his family as possible and the family has to play role models.

What child requires at this stage is love, good role models and healthy environment. The child will enjoy good Qur’anic recitation, good colorful pictures, smiling and reassuring faces. Good things can be lightly and nicely presented to the child, and not enforced upon him. It needs a lot of independence and no instructions at all. It does not like instructions at all. When child ask for your help, you should help him. Expose him to good things. He will enjoy company of older children, and learns a lot from them.

What the child DOES NOT require at this stage is external learning interventions or enforced teaching. No human programming at all, that is taking him away from natural development.

For facilitation center: The environment should be light, bright and full of love. Self-learning environment has to be provided free of instructional atmosphere. The less threatened a child feels towards self-respect and self-confidence the more positive the child will be towards learning. If his self-confidence is damaged in anyway the learning slows down drastically. We do not have to be bothered whether the child is learning or not, and not to try to assess how much the child is learning at this stage. If the environment is friendly the child will learn 100% in its own way. This I call self-stabilization or settling down in life. Which is most important. Just recollect if you are not given time to settle down in a new environment you remain confused, restless and confused. So a child has to be given due time to settle down in earthly life. This is of prime importance.

(Self-learning Environment: An environment where you do not interfere with a child’s learning and leave the child alone to develop knowledge and confidence. No spoon feeding. Trust your child; s/he is much more efficient learner than you can teach. A child learns at its own pace, and rest assured he is extremely eager learner. It will select its own area or learning, which we should not try to decide for the child, as is happening presently. Just keep an eye open towards your child lest it harms itself due to inexperience. But intelligence wise it is much more intelligent than any grown up. That is why s/he is so much interested in learning which we normally are not.)

Nearly all scholars, Muslim or non-Muslim agree with the prime importance of the first four years of life. I feel following to be taken care of for children 4-7 yrs of age:

4-7 years: The external communication stage

At 4 yrs a child becomes talkative and tries different words and sentences to get the proper feel. Actually, he is practically trying to synchronize his sentences with what he has listened the grown-ups saying, trying to match the sound. He has developed some vocabulary, and tries to use all words in his vocabulary in different sentence structures. At this stage a child is very actively working on his communication skills. He remains an extremely enthusiastic learner and starts learning in a little structured manner from our standards. His ‘khudi should be actively reinforced by showing him full respect as a normal human being. Respect him as you respect elders. Actually this has to be done right from the birth of a child. A child has to be treated like a very normal human being. All that he lacks is just our communication procedures and lacks knowledge of our way of behaving or customary behavior. These he is very actively learning. Otherwise he is a very normal human being and much more intelligent than we are.

Good recitation from Qur’an will make him come closer to Qur’an. He may be helped to memorize small verses from Qur’an, but without coercion or force. Around five years you will find him getting more involved in external activities and may enjoy more structured games. We should exhibit awe of Allah subhana wa ta’ala in front of him from our conduct and behavior. Praise Allah on the sight of flower, insects, animals and any natural phenomenon. Subhana’Allah (Allah is fault free) is a very appropriate word. He should be exposed to different phenomenon.

Normally his language is clear and will like to listen to stories. Around six he is more focused and disciplined in learning. Salah (namaz) should be taught to him. We should make him listen to Qir’at of Qur’an and its meaning in his mother tongue in plain language.

He will show interest in writing and reading. If he shows interest, do assist him in this activity. However, do not over do, and leave him alone if his attention is diverted to another activity.

For facilitation center: Child should be shown full respect by everyone. His likes and dislikes to be cared for. He may be put in Nazra e Qur’an (learning to read Qur’an) if he shows interest, which I feel he normally will. Good qir’ah should be played before him. Expose him to different things, natural phenomena, designs, and may be toys as well. He should be let independent in learning. If he asks for help in learning, he should be helped. Let him select his own activity. At around six he is ready to be more organized in learning. Some will even be ready at around five years. But we have to take care of his interest.

7-10 years: The launching age into world

Around the age of 7 yrs a child is ready to launch itself into external world. His basic initialization period is over and he is ready to indulge or involve into the world around. If his initialization period has been correct, and the child has developed correct logic framework he will approach knowledge correctly. He will indulge in healthy learning. However, if he has not let to initialize correctly, this will show evidently in his attitude and emotions. The instability in such children is quite evident. He may possess erratic behavior and moods. Some mood changes and concentration lapses are expected in a child, but generally a stable child will show matured behavior and concern for others. 7-8 yrs, I believe may be considered as learning to learn outside world, and 9-10 is full-fledged learning time. He will enjoy learning about the outside world tremendously and show keen interest in same. I feel if he has been groomed in a natural way in the younger years he will have very deep concentration levels in the learning of his interest. Both girls and boys have to be treated very maturely, which will launch these young men and women in full bloom. We do not do that presently and keep them under tremendous weight of schooling and homework. They remain extremely confused and preoccupied with unhealthy learning. As a result they do not grow up and remain immature for the rest of their lives. Right, or wrong?

Are we matured as is expected of Khalifa tullah fil ard (Creator’s representative on earth)? That we are not and most of us can feel this instability in our nature. 10-12 yrs is launching into adulthood. Surprising, is it?

For facilitation center: at age 7 a child should be ready to practice salah (namaz) perfectly, as such at between 5 & 6 yr a child should be made to memorize portions of Qur’an and around six the child should also be introduced to the meanings of verses learnt. I feel the best method is by making the child listen to Qur’an and its simple translation. This can even be started at the age of four, when the child has stabilized in language. Listening to Qur’an in Arabic and then immediately the translation will make child associate meaning to the Arabic text. This learning will be very permanent in his life. Putting a child into salah (namaz) is equipping him with the best tool for developing taqwa and his control systems. It will save him from lewdness/shamelessness [fauhash (فحش)]  and divinely prohibited thought and actions [munkar (منکر)], hopefully for the rest of his life, a big achievement indeed.

(Presently at this age we are fully immersing him in western culture through English language, and also badly destabilizing his logic structure. Because he cannot rationalize why an alien language is being given so much importance, which he does not listen in the environment around, but is being so severely being imposed on him at school. This illogical act is done with the child at the age of 2-2 1/2 yrs. Now Can you make some logic of what I am trying to communicate?)

In the learning facilitation center for this age group we have to create an environment where the child can conduct experiments to satisfy his curiosity. He has to be provided with tools to practically confirm various phenomena and to extend his own findings into knowledge. This is the best age for developing language. He should be encouraged and exposed to healthy readings. History can be one very interesting subject for him to establish and strengthen his own identity and associate himself with ummah.

The environment of the LFC is to be full of respect and maturity. Child should be made to feel matured and responsible. He is entering adulthood and should be treated as such.

I request parents, especially the mothers to please correct me where they think I have made wrong observations. Parents are best psychologist if they closely follow and observe their children’s developmental progress. This we are badly missing presently following western secular theories of learning.

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2 Responses to “DEVELOPING LEARNING FACILITATION CENTER: STAGES OF A CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT”

  1. M. Ali Zia May 14, 2015 at 5:42 pm #

    Respected Sir,
    Very good article indeed. I am father of three years old child and i present things bbefore him in a natural way. The result is beyond expectations. He recites supplication before and after eating, before sleeping, Taooz, Allah o Akbar while ascending and Subhan Allah while descending. He knows five colors, counts things up to five numbers. My wife is not well educated and treats him harshly sometimes. As a result he is bit shy. Kindly advise me how to tacle the situation. Thank You.

    • Dr. M. Abid Ali May 14, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

      Assalamu Alaikum Zia sahib. Self respect and self Identity are the very basic things in the development of a human being. If this is lost, the main human traits are lost. These are of prime importance in the development of Allah’s khalifa on earth. Our present education system is focused on crushing these traits and what we get is what we see presently. A race with no clear objectives annd extremely delinquent in nature.

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