I wish that school curriculum included the topic of acceptance. Each year, children would have to learn literacy skills, math, science, physical education, social studies, art, music and acceptance. The curriculum would spiral – be taught every year by starting with what they know and adding to their knowledge. Very young children are egocentric so it could start with them as they learn self-acceptance and then spiral out each year to include more of the world. Realistically, schools are not going to jump on the idea so parents need to consider how acceptance can be part of at-home learning. Here is a suggested outline for teaching your children about acceptance:
PreK thru 2nd Grade – Self-Acceptance
Students would learn that each one of them is capable by being allowed to experiment without critique or criticism. They would be praised for their efforts and not constantly corrected. They would be told that they should be so proud of who they are and what they do.
3rd Grade thru 6th Grade – Acceptance of Differences
As students begin to exit the more egocentric years and notice more about the people around them, they are taught to embrace the differences they see. They are taught that all people have gifts to offer the world. Everyone is different and everyone is a part of what makes life wonderful. Students are encouraged to participate in “Get to Know You” activities in rotating groups throughout the year.
7th Grade thru 9th Grade – Acceptance of Change and Emotions
These are years in which students start changing both physically and emotionally. They discover that friends come and go. They have their feelings hurt. Their changing bodies feel foreign and awkward. Students will learn that emotions are not facts. Our emotions are real and we have a right to feel them but they can block our logical thinking. Students will learn to accept that sometimes they are happy and sometimes they are sad. All emotions pass. Good days will come again. They will learn to breathe deeply and accept that they are changing and so are their peers. They will participate in activities that provide them with proof that they are in it together.
10th thru 12th Grade – Acceptance of What You Cannot Control
High School students applying for college need to know how to accept that there are other people making decisions that will impact their lives. They cannot control college admissions staff. Students will participate in activities that help them to focus on what they can control and accept the “things happen” nature of life.
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