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Universal characteristics of children

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 Supamamas universal characteristics of children

Parents all over the world like to think of their children as being unique and special. This is seen right from birth and sometimes even well before that where special care and attention is given to the child. Child related studies also agree that each child is unique and ought to be cared for as such.

However, these same studies have found that although all children have their special individuality, they all possess universal traits. These characteristics are irrespective of their race, ethnicity, religious affiliation or gender. Below is a summary of these characteristics.

•    Children want to learn – Yes this fact is true even though you may have witnessed your young one ripping up their number work book! Given the right activities, every child can tap into their innate desire to learn.
•    Children want to investigate the environment with freedom – The only way that this can be made possible is to provide a prepared environment where everything supports the child’s learning needs and which eliminates adult interference.
•    Children will become active learners in the right environment – You can always tell whether the environment is appropriate for the child by their response to it. A child who is placed in a non conducive environment will often appear unhappy and dissatisfied and subsequently disinterested in participating.
•    From birth to six years of age, children have an absorbent mind – Child practitioners all over the world believe that children’s minds can absorb things in the same way a sponge does. The challenge is in making sure the content that’s absorbed is appropriate to the child’s needs.
•    Children up to age six go through Sensitive Periods – These are transitory yet optimal times of learning where a child is particularly sensitive to certain things. Some of the sensitive periods are: sensitive to order, sensitive to small objects, sensitive to language, sensitive to the refinement of the senses, as well as sensitive to movement.
•    The quality of early experiences have a profound effect on self- construction – The foundation laid out in a child’s growth process goes a long way in determining how they turn out later in life and its in every Carers mandate to make sure they provide a solid one.

The above characteristics of children seem to all highlight one thing – the necessity to provide the right environment in order to support the needs of a child – the needs of all children, all over the world.

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Article  by: Jennifer Kimani
Head Teacher at Kiota School Kindergarten

Bibliography:

The open college (1994), working with children, The open college, Manchester
Bruce, T., and Meggit, C., (1996), Child care and Education, Hodder and Stoughton, London.

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