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By the time Practica Children enter pre-school they typically enjoy every minute of the experience. In light of this their parents can be forgiven for thinking that their job is done and that it's time to pass the baton on to the pre-school teacher.

It's important to keep in mind that the human brain can store far less information than an average smart phone, while its ability to think and process information far outshines that of even the most advanced computer.

Although it's easy to share facts about dinosaurs and planets in a group setting and thus exercise a child's ability to store information in the process, it's not easy to practise "processing skills" outside of a one-on-one setting.

Whenever an activity requires of a child to spend a few seconds to consider different possible solutions, the most confident or impulsive child in the group usually interprets the few seconds of silence as a cue that it's time to voice an opinion. As a result, every other child's train of thought is interrupted, redirected or stunted. One or two children benefit over and over again while the others learn to sit back.

According to Dr Johan van Niekerk, who tested thousands of children for school readiness during his 30 years as an educational psychologist, he could always spot a Practica Child by the child's attitude: they were far more calm and confident, without being egotistical.

Children who are only used to functioning in groups may feel threatened whenever the spotlight is on them, while a child who has also been given the opportunity in the safety of a loving home to learn to accept the responsibility for finding solutions without constantly being interrupted, naturally grow into a more confident learner.

The Practica Program was initially designed to equip parents with everything they need for making a real difference as they spend one-on-one time with their children. It proves to be most effective when used in a one-on-one situation. Pre-schools have a role to play, but absolutely nothing can replace the magic that happens between parent and child.

Written by Lizette van Huyssteen
When we know better... we do better

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