As parents and educators, we can get a little off-kilter about educational goals. We are tempted by sparkling new curricula and we wonder if we are doing enough.
We want to do better. We’ll be more organized. We’ll do all the things, and all the strategies, and all the rehabilitation activities, and join all the groups.
Instead, I invite you to take a deep breath.
Each time you’re distracted by [seemingly] greener grass in the neighbor’s yard, ask yourself:
What is it all for?
Go back to your “why” for education and with each new activity, ask yourself what the end goal is.
- How will coloring 20 red apple pictures today serve the child in 20 years?
- How will putting together a ginormous diorama today serve the child beyond this activity?
- How will rewarding the child with stickers when they do something “good” serve them when no one is around to cheer them on?
I’m not suggesting not to color apple pictures, reward the child, or create dioramas. (I mean, who doesn’t love a good diorama every now and again?) I’m bringing your attention to the” why” of everything you do.
When you look at the end goal, you will likely find that you have enough curricula for a lifetime, you probably over-plan, and you’re focusing on minutiae that won’t serve the child in the long run.
So, what’s the end goal?
Important note: Be sure the goals are neurodiversity- and disability-affirming. The idea is to create goals that reduce or remove barriers to learning, not to “fix” or change the child. Further, goals should always be set with and not for the child.