Early childhood development key to success

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Windhoek

As technology and the world continue to advance, children’s worlds are inevitably influenced for better or worse by these developments.

In most cases, however, the quality of life of children is compromised because of the often negative environment in which they live. Unlike in the past, many children today do not seem to be inspired by positive tasks, such as learning.

Instead, they prefer to engage in negative activities that instantly gratifies their needs without thorough consideration of the future implications.

In fact, //Karas Regional Governor Lucia Basson this week cited Facebook and other social media as reasons for the dismal performance of learners in Grade 10 and 12 national examinations.

“Kids do not love studying anymore. Getting a 40 or 50 is good enough,” explains child life coach, Johandra Nehoya, noting that the quality of education has dropped over the years.

“It’s not like in our days where we competed with our peers who scored 80’s and 90’s,” the 26-year old, who studied clinical psychology, adds.

One of the reasons why children do not do well in school is because of the influences in their immediate environment. But also because they do not have learning tips, Nehoya points out. “Kids don’t do well in school because they do not have learning tips.”

Nehoya, who has an obvious love for children, explains that often the learning skills, abilities and personalities of all children are not taken into account in the classroom setting, as only one method of learning is used.

As a result, a child may not do well in mathematics, not because of their inability to perform, but because they have not embraced their learning skills, Nehoya explains.

That is part of the reason why she and her colleague, Millinda Coffee, who also studied clinical psychology, decided to start the My World Kids Life Studio.

“My World Kids Life Studio offers life skills training through tailor-made, age-specific programmes, so that children can live a healthy, successful life and become the best they can be,” Coffee and Nehoya explain.

Amongst others, they help boost the self-esteem of children, enhance emotional intelligence, and lay a foundation for empathy.

In fact, their programmes are tailored in such a way that after having gone through the programmes the children are equipped to achieve an overall balance in their lives.

They focus on bringing out the best in children between the ages of five and 18 years old, as that is the crucial time to develop children and to prepare them for adulthood and the challenges they may face in life, they further explained.
Surprisingly, children as young as five years old often suffer from stress, adds Nehoya. That is why they need to be prepared at a young age on how to deal with stress.

Furthermore, Nehoya and Coffee explained that these days children as young as four years old struggle with identity problems, while in the past such problems could be identified in children nine years and older.

“That (self-esteem) is a big problem that we identify in kids. They struggle with their identity. We have situations where kids are anxious. They don’t believe in themselves” adds Nehoya, explaining that there are various underlying causes for this.

With the self-esteem workshops offered at the My World Kids Life Studio, children get to meet other children and “have fun”, adds Nehoya.

Often, children learn from other children and hence the importance of them learning in group settings, she explains.
The programmes are tailored in such a way that children who participate easily develop a stronger relationship with their teachers and parents, the duo explained. In addition, children tend to concentrate better in classrooms, they say.

“Our programmes counteract the negative influences in the world around us so that everyone can reach their true potential,” the duo explained further. In addition, children are empowered to face their individual challenges with confidence and become part of the solution.

Having a balanced life is important to any individual and it is equally important to instil this notion in children as early as possible, the two noted. There are seven key ingredients needed for achieving a balanced and successful life, Nehoya pointed out.

These include healthy eating, good sleeping patterns, positive leisure time, communication, a good support system, as well as education. As a result, these values are incorporated in their programmes.

Although they have been around since May last year, the programmes offered at My World Kids Life Studio are appreciated by parents whose children were part of the programme.

“People are interested in our programmes. It’s important for them that their kids do well in school. We’ve seen how these programmes have helped children with severe reading problems, such as dyslexia,” Nehoya said.

But, how did this love for children come about? “Ever since I started studying I always knew that I wanted to work with kids,” replied Nehoya.

Coffee adds that she has always wanted to be there for people in order to facilitate change and there was no better way to do it then to study psychology.

Previously, they worked for Lifeline/Childline where they, amongst others, counselled children.
“We realised that we work well together,” said Coffee, noting that was one of the reasons they decided to open the My World Kids Life Studio.

Kids-3 Kids-2

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