Posted by: Brigitte Rozario Post(s) by this blogger
There are a lot of companies offering courses for children today. There are courses to teach children leadership skills, self-confidence and even teamwork. This is something that is fairly new in our country.
When we were children there were hardly any courses like this. The emphasis then was on going to school and for some, there were tuition classes.
Are these courses necessary or beneficial for our children?
Elizabeth Rutten-Ng, dance/movement therapist, educator, & trainer with NVDAT Member (Netherlands), www.embodiedmovement-dancetherapy.com:
"I feel that parents are generally influenced by the culture and pressure to meet the expectations and standards of society. Thus, children are directly affected in the process. There is sometimes a feeling of 'if I don't follow suit, my child will lose out'. The need to compete and to excel becomes far more important than what the child wants and needs.
Companies see the growing demand for such courses as the trend is moving into building of character, enhancing confidence and leadership skills. However, parents have to consider that if a child suffers poor self-image and low self-esteem, the child may be insecurely attached or perhaps have some other psychological issues.
Will these courses do much to help the child or will they just add pressure on the child to perform to the expectations of the parents? To nurture a character, confidence and leadership skills takes time and these can also change in time. Would one such course actually work a miracle in achieving all the three qualities?
I think that learning leadership and confidence begins with parenting and the growth process of the baby at the developmental phase. If a child is securely attached with love, he or she will naturally have the confidence and a sense of self-identity. I believe that if children are given the opportunity to explore and be themselves in play during their developmental phase, they will build their natural leadership quality. And, I believe that parents are the best role model for their children.
I feel it is not necessary to send children for courses especially at a tender age. Children need more room to play and explore creatively within their own space and time. Children develop at their own pace and time. I also feel that there's no fixed method that will cater to all children. What works for one, will not necessarily work for another.
How can one really define what is the 'right' character, degree of confidence and the kind of leadership to enhance a child? Why not use and take the time for more play and bonding with the child instead of sending the child to attend such courses?
I suggest that parents reflect and ask themselves honestly, 'Is it really necessary and what is the goal and purpose for doing so?'; 'Is it really for the good of the child? Or is it something the child wants? Or is it to fulfil our own expectations?'; 'Will it do more good or more harm to the child?'
I think we should let the children be children. Let them enjoy their childhood; let them be free and not lose their inner free child. It's this inner free child that will nurture their self-confidence, character and leadership quality. It is only when children are given the permission to express their feelings without judgment and play and explore creatively that they will blossom to their true potential. This will eventually lead to the development of their unique character, self-confidence and the innate natural leadership."
Khoo Boo Hank
Khoo Boo Hank, life coach and co-founder of Discovery House (discovery-house.blogspot.com):
"In the past, it was only about a knowledge economy and it was logical that the person with the most information would be the leaders in a country. So, parents sent their kids to school and then to university - which was all knowledge-based. But, now with the advances in technology and the Internet, information and knowledge is just at the fingertips. Today, what makes a person a leader is actually a lot more reliant on leadership skills, confidence, teamwork and communication.
The best time to develop these skills and instil these values is when the child is small. If you're thinking of sending your child for such courses after graduation, it'll be too late because they will need to apply it when they start working. The teenage years are not ideal either because that's when they become a bit more rebellious. So, the best time to instil all these values is when they are young. That's when they are learning and exploring.
Such courses are not conducted in a way that it would stress the children - it's not like sitting at academic lectures. What we provide at our leadership courses is the experience, environment and exposure to learn and instil these values. Children attending such courses will learn and pick up these skills and values through games, craft work and drama. What we provide is a platform for them to learn leadership and other values. We don't just teach them these values, we also help them learn to sustain the values.
When they go for a course there usually is a proper structural evaluation on the child and proper guidance and environment as well.
I don't think a child can pick up such values from school because it is very academic. The closest thing you have is moral class and in moral class all you do is memorise the values. You don't get to experience them or put them to use.
The best way to learn values is through experience. Is our school academic system the place to learn these particular values? Will you leave it to chance that your child will learn them?
I think the academic system is important to lay a foundation. I just think it is not enough.
How about learning such values through extra-curricular activities at school? Not everyone gets to become the club president or a group leader in a project.
However, at our leadership courses everyone gets the opportunity or platform to take up a leadership role and experience the different values.
Can they learn to become leaders at home? If every parent has the skill and knowledge and the way to design this experiential learning for the kids that would be the best. But how often can they do that, especially so because each kid learns differently - some are visual and others learn through audio or kinaesthetic methods. Most parents will just lecture the child and that doesn't work. The child will not learn that way.
Some kids have to learn by experience and these courses use the relevant methodology to teach each child. There are many methodologies and techniques that our courses use to ensure that each child has a better chance of sustaining those particular values."