Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rites of Passage

Childhood and adolesence are marked by many Rites of Passage. 
First word
First tooth
First step
Potty training
First day of school
Riding a bike
Learning to read and write
Losing a tooth
First date
Driving a car

These are some that come to mind.  A rite of passage is something to strive for.  Some of them happen naturally, some require a child to wait, prepare, and look forward to the moment it takes place.  Parents look forward to these rites of passage as well.  Often they are used as points of conversation.  "My child already reads."
" My child is already potty trauned."
Certainly, all of these rites of passage and others too, are reasons to be proud and to announce to the world that your child is growing up.

Many of these rites of passage happen naturally, you cannot rush them. They are either a part of your child's physical, intellectual, and emotional development or as in driving a car, mandated by law.

We do not pull all of the child's baby teeth out at the age of 6 because that is when teeth are supposed to start falling out, we wait for nature to take it's course.

It is similar in schools.  In our school we give the students the lessons they are capable of understanding and accomplishing.  We introduce new concepts when the child demonstrates that he or she is ready for them.  Many students in our class are working at a variety of grade levels. 

There are certain projects that are designed as "rites of passage".  Students look forward to and are so proud when they get to begin these projects.  These projects are designed for students to demonstrate understanding and synthesis of many lessons over the years.   Many times the younger students wish to complete the final project of the older students.  It is like baking a cake without all of the ingredients and without allowing it enough time in the oven.  Although there will be a product it will not be the same.

So let's think about allowing children time to absorb, discover, explore, and internalize all the amazing wonders the world and the classroom have to offer.  Let's give them something to look forward to completing.  Let's allow the universe to unfold and trust that these rites of passage will come at the right time.

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