Expanding a Child’s World by Practicing Respect
Parents instinctively know that a child’s world is very narrow. Teachers learn just how narrow the world of a child really is when they face their first classroom full of children. The world of every child is starts and ends with “me”. Other children in the class are there to entertain or serve them. The teacher is against them when she corrects their papers and points out mistakes. The concept of a larger world that includes respect and responsibility to more than their personal desires does not exist until taught.
Teaching a Child the Concept of Respect
Teachers at our school foster children in developing
Respect for others in the class and in the school
Respect for parents
Respect for the outside world – the community in which they live
One of the most useful methods of teaching a child the importance of respecting themselves is to use a story such as “The Queen Makes a Scene” which gives visual examples of how one character embarrasses herself with selfish behavior. By discussing this story, the children are able to grasp a small part of the meaning of self-respect.
Shortly after students are introduced to self-respect, the concept of respect for others in their class is introduced. For the first two grades, it is common to use crafts that are done in teams. Inevitably, children want to do the craft their own way. By forcing the children to allow the other member of the team to do part of the project in a way that may differ from the teammate, the teacher is able to verbally introduce the concept of respect for others. Children accept these lessons because it encourages both members of a team to compliment the other instead of making one child feel “wrong”.
When appropriate, each teacher addresses the act of bullying. This might be done by watching an animal video where one animal treats another badly or through animal stories with the same simple message. Gradually, the discussions include positive stories about someone standing up for someone who is being made fun of and then, stories from the children about their personal experience of being bullied or bullying another person. Parents are encouraged to repeat the lessons using similar stories or videos suggested by the teacher.
The goal of the teacher is to help students find a positive method of interacting with others and expanding the child’s view of their world by going out of the way to help other students.
Expressing Civic Responsibility
With children under the age of ten, responsibility and social action are both foreign ideas. Still, both can be infused in a child’s experience by small activities that don’t appear to be lessons. Usually these activities enhance the social study lessons that occur in the classroom. For example, one of the social study lessons for kindergarten students introduces them to the variety of neighborhoods in the U.S. That lesson may be enhanced by pasting pictures of people who live in the neighborhoods. For a second grader, this lesson expands to include comparing one culture to another. This may be the settlers from European cultures to the Native American cultures when the settlers first arrived. Dioramas, stories, games and cooking with parents at home may be used.
With each step forward in developing a child’s sense of responsibility, some activity that requires the child to personally do something for a family member, a family friend or neighbor, for their church, or for the larger community. The activity could be something as simple as weeding the flower bed for Mom or as complicated as getting a group of friends to grow a community garden to help those of lesser means.
Our school believes that lessons of respect are part of the academic experience that encourages children to continue an interest in learning. By combining academic studies with stories, videos and activities with the support of peer pressure and parent interest, children enjoy learning the concepts of respect and enjoy expressing those concepts in tangible ways.
The information was published by the researchers and writers from both Dollar Tree and their Dollar Tree application and education program and Forever 21 and their fellowship Forever 21 careers program.