Your child’s start in school is a BIG DEAL! We fully understand this and want to help ensure your child has the best possible start in their academic career. Our karate program for preschoolers can help instil the necessary social skills, positive attitude and mindset to get your child off on the right foot.
Studies have shown that kids who are ahead of their peers, from day 1, are most likely to stay ahead and to love school. By contrast, kids who struggle, or start off behind, often have a hard time catching up and do not enjoy school as much. They may withdraw and retreat or act out and misbehave. Children who struggle are often mislabelled as unable to focus, hyperactive, or extremely shy.
Unfortunately, teachers simply don't have the time or resources to help the children who need it most when it comes to learning behaviour and social skills. Young children really need to have these skills BEFORE they start grade 1.
In karate, we call these skills “Self-Regulation”. The schools may refer to it as “SEL” or Social Emotional Learning.
Self-regulation is the ability to monitor and manage emotions, thoughts and behaviours. It's what helps children focus their attention on learning when they might be distracted by others, upset by a problem, anxious about a test, or excited about an upcoming event.
When humans are first born, they have little control of their reaction to emotions and feelings. When they are hungry or uncomfortable, they cry. When they get mad, they may hit. When they play with friends, they don't want to share. As children get older, they need to be able to regulate their response and not just react to their emotions.
These skills are not only required for success in young children. Later in life, they help teens and adults resolve conflict, problem solve, think independently, participate, and get along with others.
So how do we help your child?
At our karate school, we like to use the term “accelerating their lives”. We want our students to experience important social-emotional situations early on, to best teach them how to cope. A good example of this is public speaking. While many kids' first experience with public speaking is in middle school, our students practice speaking and public performance from age 4.
In addition to in-class training, our program extends outside the dojo. We strongly encourage parents to implement at home the lessons we teach in karate class. Intentionally look for experiences that allow your child to practice self-regulating skills. Expose them to stress, failure and hardship, and then guide them through the proper social-emotional response. Get them involved with decision-making. Place them in situations where they have to help others, work on a team, and eventually transition into leadership roles. Before you know it, your child will be strong, confident, independent, well-mannered, well-behaved, and ready for Grade 1 . . . and beyond!