I’m sure you are aware of the “nature vs. nurture” debate in the field of human development. Are we are what we are because of what has been genetically programmed into our DNA, or are we are what we are because of the environments and experiences to which we have been exposed? And I’m equally sure you would agree with all the experts who indicate the answer is that it is a combination of both.
It is imperative to consider this when promoting your child’s developmental progress. It is your job to provide her with opportunities to participate in activities that will allow her to advance. However, in doing so, you must be mindful of her individual rate and pattern of maturation. And that is something that really cannot be accelerated and definitely should not be rushed.
This seems to be better understood by business and industry than by our schools. Ever been to Disney World? Been on Space Mountain? What does that little sign say? “You must be this tall to get on this ride.” It doesn’t say you must be six years old. Why? Because the ride is designed and engineered to be safe and comfortable for people of a certain size. They know that rates and patterns of maturation are highly variable, especially during the early years. Not all children of the same age are going to be the same size. And if your child’s individual rate and pattern has not yet brought her to that size, the ride is going to be uncomfortable – even dangerous – for her, and they will not let her get on.
Regrettably, this healthy mind set is not shared by our schools. Children are placed in grade levels strictly according to their chronological age. Consequently, many kids are required to engage in activities before they have developed the physical and cognitive tools necessary to participate successfully in those activities, and thus are doomed to fail. And because we live in such a highly competitive society, many parents feel pressured to go along with this and push their child to a higher level for which she is not really ready because they are afraid she will “fall behind” her same-age peers.
Fortunately, that is not the case with Romp n’ Roll. Here it is understood that development is not a race, it is a process, and it proceeds horizontally as well as vertically. Instead of insisting that a child “move up” to the next level class because she has reached a certain chronological age, each child is given the chance to remain in a particular class as long as it takes to ensure that she has developed the wide and strong foundations she will need to move forward with confidence and success. While a recommendation from instructors that your child wait a little before moving up may make you nervous, and while watching her do “the same thing” a little longer may even seem wasteful, I assure you it is being made with your child’s best interests in mind and heeding it will be the most beneficial thing you can do for her in the long run.