HOW IMPORTANT IS DEVELOPMENT OF NON ACADEMIC SKILLS IN CHILDREN

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Guest blogger: Neena Vilas Talpade

“My little one is in the play group this year. You know, he’s already going on Environmental Science field trips,” one of the Moms says to another, as they wait for the school van. “Thank God, he’s not just jotting down page after page of the alphabet and numbers. Today’s child has evolved many times over, through development of non academic skills. We adults need to re-invent our input in their nurture.

As parents we have to think beyond providing food, clothing, shelter and formal education. And in a child’s education we have to think beyond academics. Development of non scholastic skills begins at home and continues in the school environment.

SOFT SKILLS LEARNT AT HOME

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Self reliance: The ultimate aim of parents and educators is to empower the child towards a fruitful, joyful and successful adulthood. Some important aspects are readily imbibed at home like healthy eating, exercise through play, helping with household chores, reading, art & craft, music, etc.

Balancing academics & non academic skills: Most skills can be introduced little at a time; such that the child follows a reasonably disciplined daily routine. As they reach preteens children learn to maintain a good balance between academic prowess and non scholastic activities like sports, art, social networking, video gaming, music, etc.

HOW SCHOOLS HELP IN HOLISTIC DEVELOPMENT

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Schools also play a large role in the development of non academic skills in children. Some aspects are:

Emotional Intelligence: Daniel Goleman and Peter Senge have developed the concept of a “Caring Classroom”. According to this concept the children are taught qualities like empathy and emotional intelligence during the course of their formal education.

The authors believe that academic success is directly connected with emotional intelligence and should be an intrinsic part of education. Maybe that’s why Compassion Classes are so popular in schools in the USA.

Character Building: Today, schools are introducing activities that draw out qualities in children like:

  • Determination,
  • Courage,
  • Self-confidence in the face of hurdles/failures/rejection,
  • Self-control and self-correction,
  • Enthusiasm,
  • Optimism,
  • Positive thinking,
  • Generosity,
  • Gratitude,
  • Compassion and others.

These qualities are usually taught through games so that the children learn while they play.

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Interpersonal skills: A successful adult has excellent social skills like leadership qualities, effective communication, team-building, planning and organizational skills. These talents have to be inculcated from kindergarten school via different forms of day-to-day curricular and co-curricular activities.

COMBINED ROLE OF HOME AND SCHOOL

Love is the most important quality in children. Teaching them to love themselves, other humans, and all manifestations of nature makes them positive and happy adults. Some skills include:

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Environmental awareness: Ecological Imbalance and Environmental Awareness are the buzzwords of the day. The responsibility of teaching conservation and protection of nature lies both with the family as well as schools.

Racial non-discrimination: A loving nature brings about harmony that is so essential for World Peace. In fact many crises today have their roots in this disharmony. The ability to understand and love others must be encouraged when the children are very young in order to make a positive difference.

Let’s just say then that it does not matter if some of the skills listed above seem like attitudes or cognition or perception. What really matters is that, through development of non academic skills they grow up to be loving, caring, wise, joyful and smart kids who can ‘take on the world’! And let’s not forget appreciation and thanks-giving to the Creator who makes everything happen!

 

**Images courtesy pixabay.

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