As the new school year makes its presence felt with all the back-to-school promos in the malls, most parents busy themselves with making sure that everything their children need for the academic year is covered – from notebooks to school shoes.
However when the mad rush to be ready for school finally subsides and parents look at their children, what do they really see — excitement or more of nervousness?
Change can be stressful for people, especially for children who may mirror the nervousness and excitement of their parents as they take a big step towards personal growth.
As such, parents having a clear and positive disposition can help children embrace their new experience with much openness and joy. As a result, more learning can be absorbed by children. Parents have the power to prepare their children better by identifying possible leverage actions.
The identification of leverage points, or understanding that small actions can produce big, desirable results, is one of the habits of a systems thinker.
Systems Thinking, which is now being practiced by multi-national companies and in many schools in the United States, is loosely defined as a way of thinking that sees the bigger picture and how the parts of a system interact with each other, making an individual more critical and grounded on how change happens and what possible responses can be done to yield positive results. Given adequate training and exposure to this way of thinking, an individual increases his chance at personal success by not being easily overwhelmed by change.
Systems Thinking is one of the newer 21st century-apt approaches to education, which has a diverse range of sources – one of which is Peter Senge, an American systems scientist who is also a senior lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States and the founder of Society for Organizational Learning.
In the Philippines, Benedictine International School (BIS) which is located in Quezon City has pioneered in incorporating systems thinking in the Philippine education curriculum. Apart from being known to have a family atmosphere, BIS has been practicing Systems Thinking and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) for several years now and has been happily assisting parents in helping children become more adaptive to changes.
Having a systems thinking mindset, parents can help children be ready for school by doing the following three things:
- Create a Goal together
It is important for children to find value in what they do. Oftentimes, children ask “Why do I have to do it?” And the answer may not be obvious to them as they are to us, parents. Having a clearer view of the bigger picture, we should be able to gently guide them towards understanding what lies ahead of them and aligning our dreams for them with that of what is meaningful for them at the moment. Goals may not necessarily be immediately big, but must always work towards and accomplishment of a bigger objective. Breaking down big tasks and manage expectations so that your child may actually feel empowered being able to achieve personal success one day at a time.
- Establish study habits at home
To establish study habits at home is an exemplification of another systems thinking principle which states that structures generate behavior. Taking this to heart, it is important to provide structures that will help prepare children for the rigors of school work and sustain the gains that their experience may bring. Sit down with your child and have a clear picture of how a school day may go and come up with a schedule that reflects the life balance that you want for him/her.
- Foster an environment that allows open communication to happen
By actually sitting down with their children and helping them identify feelings about school – both excitement and concerns – parents may actually be in a better position to correct false assumptions about school life. In an honest, open, and trusting communication, parents would be able to assure a child that support will always be there and hopefully, they find courage in exploring the world responsibly. Let your child feel that he can share his feelings without being judged and allow him to surface his assumptions, identifying which ones are limiting beliefs and which ones are actually good for him.
Seriously get involved in your child’s education by knowing new approaches like Systems Thinking. Call Benedictine International School at +632.951.8960 / 951.7154 / 951.7454 and learn more about how you can help your child be successful in all avenues of life. You may also visit the school website at http://www.benedictine.edu.ph or its Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BISphilippines.