It is now a common practice to not limit a child’s learning process to the four walls of a classroom.
This is because many parents believe that valuable skills and knowledge can be obtained outside the classroom. This belief is what birthed the concept of special education.
Special education is when a child is taken to certain places to gain more knowledge in addition to school work or new knowledge in its entirety.
It could be extra maths tutoring, piano lessons, swimming classes, etc.
It is not wrong to subscribe your children to special education. However, it is crucial to pay attention to your child’s age and level of development to not overburden them with things they cannot handle at that age.
The development of a child according to age groups.
We believe it is essential that we briefly highlight what development in a child looks like depending on their age group.
This enables you to understand what kind of extra knowledge they can take on and whether they are ready for special education.
1. Age 3-6 years
This is the beginning of kindergarten. At this point, children are generally practising the control of their bodies to become more proficient.
They start to do things like running, jumping, climbing and dancing. It is vital to encourage them while bearing in mind to keep them safe.
At this age, a child is learning to read and copy emotions and expressions. So whatever you do around them is easy to be picked up.
If you’re planning to introduce special education to your children at this age, you should limit it to simple things. They honestly do not need something so tasking or demanding of their time.
It is often said that Children quickly learn other languages if introduced to them at this age. You could sign them up for special education as regards learning a new language or culture (under your supervision).
2. Age 6-9 years
This is the middle school years. This period brings a higher level of development. Children can control their bodies and express their emotions better. They also already know how to take certain decisions and accept responsibility for their actions.
At this point, they can accurately understand and retain information. This is a great time if you haven’t yet introduced them to special education classes.
3. Age 9-12 years
This period is described as late childhood. More times than often, children already take on their distinct personalities and attitude from this age. There are also notable changes from puberty. It is said that women change at 10 and a half years old, while men change at 12 and a half years old.
Children in this age group are more aware of their emotions. They take friendships very important and, as such, crave acceptance from their fellow mates. They are also easily influenced by their friends and classmates.
Children at this age are more imaginative and have accurate memory and understanding of relationships and differences in surroundings. Hence, they can easily take up special education in addition to their regular classes.
However, just like children of any age group, you must monitor and encourage them. Do not abandon them as it could leave them stressed and overwhelmed.
Is there a specific age that is best for special education?
In a realistic sense, children are often exposed to extra classes from middle school. Schools make provision for extra lessons or curricula which provides for extra knowledge asides from that gotten in the classroom.
However, it is essential to consider the various age groups as discussed earlier. It is best to wait till the child is within the age range of 6-9 years before introducing them to special education.
This doesn’t mean you can’t do so earlier. You can; you just have to do it under your strict observation and guidance.
Another critical thing to note is not letting these extra classes take away most of their time. Children should be allowed to be children. Hence, remember to let them spend time playing with their friends and family as they build memories and meaningful relationships.
Should this special education be gotten within the school or outside the school?
This depends on different things. The social context of each area is not the same.
In some places, it is better to take extra classes with the teacher in school; in others, it is not.
Some schools provide the kind of classes you want your child to take (e.g. piano lessons or swimming lessons), while some don’t, and you are left with looking for teachers outside the schools.
We recommend that your child take extra classes outside the school.
Our reason is that it exposes them to another teaching style and environment. This contributes to their knowledge of their surroundings and their many disparities.
Special education isn’t a bad thing. It is good practice to expose your child to extra knowledge and skills.
However, as said earlier, remain involved in their lives and provide guidance as necessary.