As we just finished the season of giving, I want you to look at the children in your room or center and unwrap the joy of learning for each one of them. Have you ever had the desire to get into their little minds to see how they operate and what makes them tick? That is my passion as an Early Childhood Special Education specialist and the mother of three girls, all three with special gifts and great challenges according to this world.
What are the keys to unwrapping this gift? Psalms 139:13-14 states, “…you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made…” This statement ensures that God alone instilled every child with certain gifts and abilities that others may or may not have. The way the brain takes in, processes and executes information is unique for each child. Our primary challenge as educators is how we look at a child’s “normal” abilities or the characteristics we want to see each of our children develop.
The first key is to have a firm understanding of the five developmental domains in Early Childhood (cognitive, physical, speech/language, social emotional, and self-help.) An additional domain often added is behavior. Whether it is a chart that you keep handy, researching information on the internet, or whatever specific tool you can utilize to assist you with a quick reference to these, it is essential that you keep them as a ready reference. In other words, we must keep our minds sharp with what is “normal” and continually hone our ability to identify these desired traits at a specific age. This skill is crucial and will serve any parent or educator well in their desire to touch the life of a child.
Jeremiah 1:5 states, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.” As you know, God has created all children in a fashion that they develop differently and at different paces. This is especially obvious between boys and girls. Each child has different talents, abilities, and challenges, regardless of the current functioning developmental level. Dr. Carolyn Leaf, author of The Gift in You, (Leaf, 2009, p. 25) has done extensive brain research and states, “Because each of us has a unique gift, we each walk in our gifting differently. You can’t compare your gift to anyone else’s and when you walk in your own gift a few things will follow. Love is one, wisdom is another.”
I truly believe that every child that walks through your door is a gift from God. You are the one that God has chosen to assist them to use their gifts that He gave them to their utmost potential. We will be spending time this year developing these “gifts” in your children!
Blessings & Joy in Learning!
Cheryl Couch, M.Ed
Early Childhood Special Education Specialist