When parents meet with teachers, they often say “How does my child’s learning compare to his/her peers?” or “Are other kids in your class doing ______?” or “Is this ….” Doesn’t matter what the topic or question… they want to be assured that their child is fitting in.
Here’s what I want you to know…. that isn’t the way to judge your child’s achievement. In every classroom you will have children who are ahead, on level and behind academically, emotionally, socially, physically, and so on. Each child learns, grows and develops on their own path.
Good teachers look at each child in the class as an individual. They look at that child’s developmental level when they walk in the door and then work towards growth (in all aspects of life). Every child can learn… just not all on the same day and the same way.
So, what is the best way to look at where my child should be? There are developmental milestones for skills and development. Again these are ages and stages. Just as your child might have talked early or walked a bit later than some of their peers, the same is true for learning to read, write and the rest of the learning that happens in school. But, with the support of your child’s teachers, YOU and time.. they will learn to read, write and so on… when they are ready.
We live in a time that wants everything done yesterday. There is a push for things to be done and mastered before they are developmentally appropriate. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a proponent of introducing children to skills that are above and challenging. But, I live in the reality that not everyone will master them now.
So, the next time you are wondering where your child fits in. Stop and ask. How much has my child grown? Are their areas that (s)he is strong in? (maybe your child is really good in math or reading or drawing or sports or tying shoes) What areas are my child struggling in? How can I help lay the groundwork for him/her to move forward in these areas? How can I uses areas of strength to help develop areas of challenge?
Life isn’t equal, but we can make it fair! (my definition of fair… providing each what they need to be successful in the place they are so they can get where they are going)