Promoting Parents on the Elementary School Level

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While parents are literally in their children’s classroom night and day year-round, we aren’t made aware of passing and failing because in this culture, job descriptions for effective parenting are not promoted. After all, think of the impact it would have on an economy that depends on “needy – real or imagined” – individuals for survival. I didn’t have a clue until my first-born son, Pamoja, as an adult shared with me the negative impact of a statement I made, “All classes should be IGC (Intellectually Gifted Classes)”; when in the third grade he was promoted to an IGC Class.

Later, after giving birth to six more children and deciding to attend Lincoln U for a Master’s Degree in Human Services, I discovered Erickson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development that list ages, description and conflicts to be mastered. Knowing that the effects of past actions or inactions can be corrected is powerful. It allows parents to take responsibility for the precious opportunity to create a different world, one which works for everyone with no one left out. The only requirements are 1) Giving up the need to always be right or to know it all and 2) Since there’s evidence that what we focus on increases, make sure your energy is spent “for” a goal instead of merely “against” someone or thing.

Listing Erickson’s stages from infancy to elementary school-age, readers can grade themselves and create a makeup plan if necessary. It’s never too late.
Infancy Basic trust vs. mistrust: /Parents must maintain an adequate environment –supportive, nurturing and loving– so that the child develops trust.
Years 1-3 Autonomy vs. shame or doubt: As the child develops bowel and bladder control, she must also develop a healthy attitude towards being independent and somewhat self-sufficient. If the child is made to feel that independent efforts are wrong, then shame and self-doubt develops instead of autonomy.
Years 3-5 Initiative vs. guilt: The child must discover ways to initiate actions on his own. If such initiatives are successful or acceptable, guilt will be avoided.
Years 5 ½-12 Industry vs. inferiority: The child must learn to feel competent, especially when competing with peers. Failure results in feelings of inferiority.
An Assignment: If you are fortunate enough to have or know an elementary school student, participate in this project. Interview the student asking the following questions and simply recording the answers.

1. What is your favorite activity when you are not in school? What’s your favorite class in school this year? Why? What was your favorite class last year? Why? What grade did you get in that class last year?
2. Once the questions are answered, have student complete a Multiple Intelligence Inventory and compare the results to those answers in (1). Parents who complete 1 and 2 will receive a list of activities geared to different intelligences, providing resources to stimulate and motivate child’s emotional and intellectual growth.
PN interviewed two elementary school siblings who attend Better Choice Community School, located in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Fobayo McIntosh-Principal, started in 2008 as pre-K through 2nd grade, each year adding a class for graduates and now up to 5th grade – celebrating its first graduation in June. Thanks to Ngueseh and Apoeseh for allowing us to see the relationship of passion to performance. Thanks to their mother, Mrs. Florence Wapimewah, native of Cameroon, for allowing PN the opportunity.
Ngueseh – DOB March 18, 2004 – 4th-grader – His favorite out-of-school activities are baseball, football. In school his favorites are reading (biographies about sports players – Derek Jeter a favorite) and recess with playground. Last year (3rd grade), his favorite subjects were reading and math. He received a 4 in reading and 3 in math.

Apoeseh – DOB March 10, 2002 – 5th-grader – Her current favorite out-of-school activity is designing clothes which started this summer. She designs and draws clothes for different ages. In pre-K she started drawing people and cars. She also sings and raps; Beyoncé, Mary Mary and Willow Smith are favorites. She shared that she sings in the shower, creating her own songs. In school her favorite class is writing. She hates math, finding it very challenging. She moved to D Level in reading recently from W4. Last year (4th grade), reading was her favorite subject and she loved Harry Potter. She received 4s and 3s in all subjects.

We’ll continue the journey of liberating our children’s genius. Questions to parentsnotebook@yahoo.com, Check out Parents Notebook on Facebook/ visit Nana411b.wordpress.com.