Realistically, child’s mental age and chronological age most times are not at equilibrium. Rarely you get them tally. That’s why, seeing a child of 4 years performing excellently as though 6 years, showing that his/her mental age outruns his/her chronological age. Normally, such child or children are tagged gifted ones and vice versa.
For instance, a child of 2 years resuming school should start with pre-school class (toddler) to enable him or her go through hand free method and pencil manipulation with letters and figures co-ordination sitting on lines of exercise book. This class is where training the fingers and strengthening the fists for more vigorous work takes place because 0-2years is motor period action oriented.
On the other hand, the parents would wish the child to be in Nursery one. Here, the child is thrown off balance, intimidated by other learners who have acquired co-ordination and even letters and figures recognition. This class is pre-operational stage – development of symbolic functioning. The drama is just like wearing your 2years daughter your long skirt. It will be better seen than imaged. 1 Sam 17:39
Furthermore, the child’s defense mechanism is crying and stretching out his / her neck calling mummy. Everything irritates him/her because of wrong placement. The moment he/she sights school gate, school bus, teacher, crying resumes. Now school becomes a terror instead of a ‘play pen’.
All these happen because the child cannot fit in. The gap is much. In fact, the gap remains because there is something missing. Repeating that nursery one will be ideal for the child to actualize things otherwise the development of reflexes will be hard. He/She cannot think in terms of interrelated principles but in a single bit of knowledge. As a matter of fact, the child’s reciprocation identity is denied.
Conclusively, allowing the school to place a learner in the “age-appropriate” class will exhibit good behaviour within a short possible time. The learner demonstrates standardized achievement in class work and tests. Here the child sees school as an extension of his / her home. The school would not want to mar the child’s psychological feeling, that is why she is concerned in child’s early foundation which is all about his/her physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual aspects of life. A stitch in time saves none.
Onaga Amaze E. (Mrs.)