Educationists say a child will learn when she is ready and forced teaching will only result in added stress and detachment that will push the little ones away from what is actually intended.
This theory is quite true but it’s proven that a kid’s brain develops the most until 5 years of age; so, it’s vital they meet all milestones during their early years.
What should you then do if you can see your child unable to keep up with her peer group, unwilling to keep up or does not know just how to keep up with the peers?
Or, what should you do if you find out that your child understands and is able to solve problems way above her peer group? What if her IQ is way above average?
Several schools in the UAE provide shadow teachers to children who may be slow at learning and need additional help in keeping up with the class. On the other hand, there are also dedicated services in some countries for gifted students – those with above average intellect.
There are, indeed, educational programmes that promise to help children push forward their learning abilities and overall development based on their intellectual capabilities.
UK-based educational psychologist Dr Madeleine Portwood, a consultant psychologist with Dubai-based Ebdaah, a specialist training and capacity building consultancy, insists her programme catapults early years’ performance.
Based on a UK-tested child development programme (CDP) which allows pre-school teachers and parents to fast track the movement, thinking, language, communications and social skills of children from two to six years old, she maintains the learning abilities of the UAE’s under-fives can be accelerated by more than 12 months above the norm.
As per the doctor, the average improvement in an Early Years child on the programme over six months produced a 14.3 months leap forward in movement skills, a 13.9 month jump in personal and social skills, while communications skills moved ahead by 14 months.
“The programme benefits children of all abilities and also helps with the early identification of Special Education Needs,” she explained.
She cited a case of a three-year old girl in the UK whose understanding surged to the level of a six-year-old after just six months on the programme.
Meanwhile, a three-and-a-half-year old boy with learning and language difficulties progressed his thinking and perception skills to an age-equivalent child in nine months.
“The programme is proven to empower pre-school teachers, parents and child carers to help children attain their full potential in the crucial early learning years, and can also provide relevant evidence for governing body inspections.
“Indeed, there are often other, very positive by-products from the programme including a lifting of a child’s self-esteem, self-confidence and general health,” said Dr Portwood.
The CDP is validated as evidence-based by the UK’s Department of Education, and comes in the wake of UK statistics suggesting that some pre-school children are lagging behind in the development stakes often because of a lack of specialised opportunity and activities.