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to express feelings through words as well as physical actions.The Seeds catechist needs to create a friendly atmosphere and give the individual attention that says to each child, “I love and value you.” The songs and activities that are part of a Seeds lesson spread this loving and valuing around, so that the children also affirm each other. Young children are entirely capable of learning to listen carefully to others and to respect what they have to say.However, young children are just learning to use words to express anger and frustration rather than simply acting feelings out in more physical ways. These two behaviors will go hand in hand with three- and four-year-olds. The Seeds teacher must always be ready to help children solve conflicts and express feelings by talking.Many Seeds activities call for children to make simple choices and decisions. These choices do not involve right and wrong. Seeds children are too young to understand why they make this or that choice, but they can learn to accept others’ opinions as equal to their own.Above all, the Seeds child must experience success. Although he or she will want independence in doing a task, children this age are often dependent on adult direction and need help to accomplish a task to their satisfaction. Because Seeds is for both three- and four-year-olds, younger children may need more asssistance to be successful.social DeveloPmentThree- and four-year-olds are very egocentric and cannot assume the perspective of others. Onecannot expect children at this age to apply the golden rule. Their subjective view of life makes it difficult for them to see things from another person’s point of view. In fact, little children often ask adults to do silly things, such as playing house behind the couch or being a horse, because they cannot imagine the adult wouldn’t enjoy the same play they do.On the other hand, their strong egocentricity is what motivates young children to seek knowledge, to have their needs met, and to take on the obstacles and challenges of life. This period of egocentricity is not a time to rush through, but rather a time to be learning and receiving needed attention.Catechists can, and should, teach and modelsharing and concern for others, but this traitwill only develop fully when the child is ready. Children really become able to put themselves in others’ shoes only after they begin developing their abstract thinking skills in the junior-high years. In the meantime young children’s concern for others will be in direct proportion to how secure children feel and how good they feel about themselves. They can recognize that someone else feels bad, but they cannot change their behavior because of it. The empathy of the golden rule will become a developing part of children’s lives in the elementary-school years.The four-year-old is beginning to see thatsome behavior is acceptable and other behavioris unacceptable. The three-year-old who opensa beautifully wrapped birthday present to find a sweater rather than an action toy may throw the sweater away in disgust and burst into tears. The four-year-old is more likely to say thank you (with prompting) and pick up the next present. Both three- and four-year-olds are self-centered, but they are able to be reliable and cooperative to an extent. They experience difficulty with sharing and have a limited capacity to relate to others and to respect them. Fortunately they do like to imitate the adults around them, copying their behavior and observing their attitudes.The Seeds teacher helps children learn acceptable group behavior by naming it when it happens and by affirming it so the children see themselves in a positive manner. Such affirmation also gives the children words to describe the behavior themselves.Simple sharing activities give children practicein cooperation. Two children can share one box of crayons. A team of children can tidy the classroom. Children can practice respectful listening for short periods of time, becoming aware of others’ needs, ideas, and opinions. They will model their behavior on the catechist—treating others with respect and courtesy, controlling voice volume, being fair about enforcing classroom rules.thinking abilityThree- and four-year-olds learn from interacting with their environment through their senses. They are comfortable with concrete objects and familiar experience; at the same time, their imaginations are


































































































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