Here is a story by Fr. E. H. McGrath an expert on Managerial skills. Once upon a time the seedling of a Gulmohar tree had been transplanted near a school’s compound wall. Like all Gulmohars it grew quickly and in six months it was over a meter tall. As it thrust its way skyward, the little branches multiplied. They were so well distributed that the sapling with its wonderful balance and form gave a quiet dignity to that corner of the compound.
One day a goat got into the compound and before anybody could drive it off, it had bitten six inches off the top of the tree. Six months of God’s work gone in an instant! The little tree did not die, but it never was quite the same. Its shape, balance and dignity were affected. It did live on but something was gone.
A child’s mind to a seedling: A child’s mind is immeasurably more sensitive. Since the child’s mind is a bundle of such mind staggering potential, only good treatment can nurture such magnificent growth. It all depends on how parents / teachers manage the development of that potential and particularly, in the first five years.
We know that it is during these years that the child learns to observe and wonder; to search and discover, to measure and weigh, to classify, distinguish; express, create; to see relationships and order; to see out new experiences and explore; to value themselves and feel confident of their ability to affect their surroundings. All these basic skills they learn or at least they could and should!
As parents most of us lavish attention to a child’s physical development, but we tend to neglect the child’s mental and emotional growth. This is tragic, for, the intelligence of the child is basically established during these five years or before they go to school. Psychologists emphasize that a child does not have a fixed amount of intelligence. The child’s higher or lower level of intelligence depends largely on its environment and the quality and quantity of stimuli that it receives.
The size and texture of the child’s brain depend to a great extent, on the nature and amount of stimulation it receives. Roughly, we can say: little stimulation small brain, much stimulation and variety of experience, larger brain. Heredity does put limits on the child’s intellectual capacity but the upper limit is so high that few, if any, ever reach it.
A child’s brain grows most rapidly as its body during the first five years. During this growing time, it is most subject to information. A child’s intellectual capacity is developed 50%by the time it is four, and almost 80% by the time it is eight. After eight, growth slows greatly. A child’s need to learn, explore, do something new is as strong as their need for food. Play for a child is not just fun; it is their ordinary and most effective way of learning. Dr. Maria Montessori Mr. Froebel has shown us the way in their educational system.
Do our homes, play schools or kindergartens give priority to the above? A hurting word or action can be like the bite of the goat.
All children are born to grow, to develop, to live, to love, and to articulate their needs and feelings for their self-protection – Alice Miller