In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. He then proceeded to create animals, man, woman and eventually babies. Every species whether human or animal follows a pattern of development peculiar to that species. With children there is evidence of god's orderly rule in that infants demonstrate two growth patterns: vertically from head to the feet and horizontally from the central axis of the body to the extremities. Strength develops vertically from a child's head to the trunk and then to the legs and feet. The child can use the arms before controlling hands and fingers. Growth always occurs in an orderly and predictable way. What does this mean for us as parents in teaching our children?
Learning occurs from interaction with one's environment. In the early stages learning is brought about by parental influence and instruction. Children interpret new experiences in relation to knowledge formerly acquired.
Therefore 'BEGIN AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON'. The child who can associate right meanings with new experiences is far more advanced in his or he understanding than a child who must associate a new meaning with an old situation that will ultimately need correction.
Since learning comes in progressive stages, training should take place in the same way. There are many factors that influence learning both positively and negatively. Generally there are three categories of learning: basic skills, academic learning and moral development.
Basic skills: not all behaviour is moral in nature and children learn motor skills such as drinking from a cup or using a spoon etc. these skills develop in an orderly and progressive way as maturation occurs and the child is given the opportunity and encouragement. Skills are basic to all human beings, natural talents are discriminatory and giftedness is a talent magnified.
Academic learning: academic learning is the accumulation of data and the ability to apply reasoning skills to a given situation. It also is progressive from general to specific. The connections in the brain that make this possible are not formed randomly but through activity and purposeful training.
Moral training: at birth a child has no functioning conscience. With adults belief precedes actions but with children action precedes beliefs. That is why parents should require right responses long before the child is capable of understanding moral concepts. Young children first learn how to act appropriately and then they learn how to think morally. It is therefore important to lay basic foundations from the very beginning.
When a child is at peace with the environment, learning potential increases. Routine and order facilitates this positive conclusion and encourages self control. As we know from scripture, the development of self control is vital to a life of peace and knowing God. Teaching self control is a gift every parent can and should give their child.