Making assumptions…an extract from my last book

Schools have a commitment to assessing each child’s literacy and numeracy levels and providing additional support through interventions such as booster groups for children who may need it. However, in terms of social and emotional development they do not assess a child’s social skills but may sometimes reprimand them if they have difficulty in this area. We may expect children to be at a certain developmental level and make assessments based on their chronological rather than social and emotional age. For example, a 7 year old who finds it difficult to share with others may be operating at an emotional level of a three year old. It can be useful to consider the social and emotional skills that we may assume children have as we may think they are able to share, listen, cooperate, sit quietly, sit still, work with others and follow instructions. We can make assumptions that a child’s age and developmental level are linked and for some children there can be a big gap in this being a reality. It is crucial that children are not punished for their developmental difficulties i.e. not being able to share, but instead are provided with opportunities to practice and develop those skills as they would be with other areas of their development, rather than chastising them for not being able to do things. Does your school provide extra help and support in some areas, yet punish or reprimand children for not having the skills we expect them to have in others?

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