Thursday, September 22, 2011

Teaching Youngsters to Share

Dan Gilbert from Primrose Schools expressed interest in guest posting on my blog. This article is the first of several that he'd like me to share with my readers.

Train Youngsters to Share:
Using Beginning Instruction on Collaboration

Submitted by Dan Gilbert on behalf of Primrose Schools. For over 25 years, they have helped individuals achieve higher levels of success by providing them with an AdvancED® accredited, early child care services and education. Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum, Primrose Schools students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially. Dan has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.
People who learn to cooperate as a child experience better chances for success later in life. Making a friend or working in a group setting as an adult comes naturally to those who learned this fundamental skill as a child. The willingness to share comes from the interactions a child has with a parent or a caregiver. Children especially start picking up on sharing and cooperation before age four, says Dr. Mary Zurn (Dr. Z), vice president of education for Primrose Schools. Primrose offers a safe, nurturing preschool environment for children to play, learn and grow. By following role models in play and playing with other children their own age, children can learn to take turns and share before they enter school.

“Cooperation and sharing are key character traits that teach children how to get along with others,” said Dr. Z. Collaboration skills do not come with instinct; they are learned. Success in our world comes more often than not to team players. Children who have mastered these abilities find they can enjoy relationships characterized by respect and congeniality. People are called upon to share every day, so those who learn to be generous, to care for others and to cooperate display the good character that makes good citizens.

Examples in Cooperation: Parents teach their children before anyone else, so they should make sure that they demonstrate a proper example of sharing and cooperation for them to follow. By helping others and working respectfully with other, parents send a signal telling children that these are desirable traits. Parents can reinforce cooperation by asking them to help out with the cleaning in exchange for sharing some fun time together afterwards.

Goals Families Achieve Together: Families are great units to use for the development of sharing and collaboration in youth. By choosing an activity and assigning each family member a role, children can learn how people who work together can achieve more than they can separately. When they see it’s fun to combine efforts, they will develop a habit that lasts a lifetime.

Cook to Cooperate: Preparing a meal makes a great educational environment for a child. They can see that they play a meaningful role in the effort and take pride once the meal is on the table. A Story called Stone Soup illustrates the positive role cooking can have in developing team values.

Reading Books: Parents can choose books that illustrate cooperative attitudes such as the story called Little Red Hen. These stories open opportunities for parents to extol the virtues and benefits of working together.

Musical Lessons: Another great way to teach children these crucial values of cooperation and sharing is to listen to music. After playing a clip from a band, children can help identify all the distinct instruments and sounds they hear. The independent contribution of each musician combines to make a symphony.

After learning about bands, parents can join with children to create a rudimentary band where each person plays a role in creating music. Just for fun, record the final rendition on video or audio and play it back. The masterpiece will live on for years as part of family lore.

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