Have you ever heard of “The Invisible String?”
Beautifully written by Patrice Karst and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, “The Invisible String” is a phenomenal children’s book! Interwoven from page to page is the theme of the strong, unbreakable bonds we share with our children, whether near or far away. While Patrice and Joanne crafted a story that certainly offers a lifeline of support and comfort for children and families when facing things like loss, anxiety when separated from loved ones and even loneliness, they also powerfully capture the essence and strength of the purposeful relationships we share with family, friends and other cherished souls throughout the course of our lives.
Taking a moment to think about your own life’s journey, do certain family members, friends, teachers, coaches, people of influence come rushing to your mind? From infancy through adulthood, our entire lifespan is shared with others who bear witness to our stories just as we bear witness to theirs! The power of connections and the bonds we all share with those closest to us make a very large impact on the course of our lives. Because we are not meant to journey through this life alone! Relationships, connections, sharing in the journey is all a part of the walk.
When it comes to the power of relationships and connections for our youth, it goes without saying that the social development piece plays just as great a role as ones physical, intellectual and emotional development does. With that said, it is important to bear in mind that certain ages and stages of development bring with them certain milestones, areas of increased growth and exploration of new experiences!
To better illustrate the differences in social development, let’s compare a three-year-old to a fourteen-year-old for just a minute.
In the early preschool years, children often exhibit a very strong attachment to their parents or primary caregivers; The adults who are most present in their lives. Since they were born, these adults have been their whole world! They have loved, cared for and watched over this little one from day one. It is no wonder that these precious little humans sometimes struggle in saying goodbye to their trusted adults when it is time to go to school or even enjoy extracurricular activities. You are asking them to leave, step away from their safe person and safe zone. That is a lot to grasp, understand, sit with and incorporate into their intellectual and emotional being!
Now, compare a preschooler to a teenager and you see a young man or woman learning to step into their truth, power and identity! The days of relying solely on their primary caregivers have shifted now into looking to their circle of influence including friends, teachers, coaches and others to formulate opinions, ideas and ways of moving forward along their journey. Though the natural progression in the teens social development is certainly to begin branching out from their home base, it does not in any way diminish the need still for the presence of their parents and other close family members. As the beautiful teen mind continues to mature and development, parents still continue to play a vital role in supporting, nurturing and guiding their son or daughter in next best purposeful steps towards adulthood.
Bearing in mind the ages and stages of social development of every student we serve, SKILLZ Childhood Development Centers strive to support the social piece by:
- Instilling a sense of tribe. Children as they grow often seek places where they feel a sense of belonging and unconditional love and support. Incorporated into every class experience is a conscious sense of tribe. Because we are a team! Each of our students in the practice of their individual skills is also developing and maturing in their development of teamwork, leadership, empathy, compassion, love and respect for their friends.
- Being the role model your child needs us to be! Again, as children grow and mature, their circle of influence grows from looking to just their parents towards others they admire, respect and wish to emulate. That is why each and every one of our instructors are held to the highest of standards! Their passion for supporting children throughout the journey is genuine and heartfelt. Thus, their constant motivation and drive to improve upon themselves and their own skill set to be the best role model your child needs them to be!
- Practicing consistency. Children need a sense of structure and consistency to thrive in the classroom. We accomplish this not only through the sense of tribe and being the role model your child need us to be, but by also ensuring their class experience is always one filled with positive reinforcement, enrichment and building each other up. We strive to be a light in what can sometimes be a dark world. Through our practice of consistency, our students develop deeper connections and bonds with those they enjoy their classes with because they know it is going to be an experience that lifts them and their peers up!
Purposeful relationships, bonds and connections within our circle of influence are so very powerful. We are so honored to be a part of your child’s tribe, instilling a sense of support and consistency as the role model your child needs us to be.
If you find your child is struggling in their social development, please connect with me. I am here to help and support you and your child every step of the way! Because together we are a team and together, we walk alongside each other, always connected by our invisible string.