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Skill-building helps children actively participate at school, at home and as a member of their community. Typically characterized by social skills or logical/reasoning abilities, children can vastly benefit from skill-building during their early years. One of the best ways to do this is through play! Play helps parents first identify a child’s unique skill sets and then work towards honing those skills or increasing their range of skills.
Scaffolding is a term which was first introduced by Lev Vygostksy, a Russian psychologist best-known for his contributions to the field of developmental and cultural psychology. It can take on two forms – mentorship by a teacher/parent or mentorship by another student/fellow peer whose understanding of a specific skill might be more advanced. Scaffolding helps ‘the student expand his or her learning boundaries and learn more than they would be able to on their own.’ This falls into the zone of proximal development (the closest developmental zone to the learners’ current developmental needs). Scaffolding is another great way to help children build core skills.
Communication with your child is essential for skill-building. I will link my YouTube Live (Skillmatics x Baby Chakra) based on communication with your children during COVID-19 here for reference. However, there are two ways of looking at skill-building during this time:
Some parents believe that this additional time at home is optimal for the acceleration of their child’s development. With apps at our fingertips and access to technology in a more thoughtful manner, parents are becoming modern day child-development experts. And while this may come across as facetious, I’m serious. With the Kinedu app and Coursera offering accredited courses such as Yale’s Everyday Parenting, parents are now more switched on than ever before. And unlike the generation before them, they have additional resources to reference.
A few fun ways to build skills are through classes and workshops. If your child typically attends a cooking extracurricular at school, try this chocolate masterclass. For chess lovers, try using the Chess app on Google Play. The dangerous side to these free online resources and our paid classes through Zoom is that your child is overstimulated, not enjoying down time and feeling pressured to acquire new skills when we are already dealing with a pandemic. The argument against “skill-building during Coronavirus” is simply that, no one can talk about yet alone think about anything else.
Your child is suffering from a change in their routine, time without their friends and for many of you, less time than normal outdoors. How can they then be expected to focus on improving their skill sets? If you are keen that they hone specific skills or add to their repertoire, the key is taking it day by day and not overdoing it. Encourage your child but don’t let your enthusiasm cause you to get too carried away… at the end of the day, your child is a child and should enjoy their childhood stress-free.