Family Life Cycle-Empty Nest: Launching Adult Children
Health & Medical Parenting

The NPL Program - A Day in Pat"s Life

Let's look at the end product first.
Have you ever considered all of the things that happen in one day in the life of a zero to a six-year-old child? Have you ever thought that these events and situations can be the source of his real education?--That these events and situations are the rich learning ground by which he learns about himself and the world around him? We are going to be featuring our hero, Pat, throughout this series of articles, but right now I would like to have us look at him as a six-year-old.
Then we will do a Hollywood maneuver called a flashback and take you to his earlier life.
That's the idea -- we will look at him now and then take a look at how he got here.
Note -- To avoid the clumsiness of he/she and him/her or any other double gender notation, we will be using the male gender for Pat.
We purposely use the names Pat, Kim, and Chris because they can be male or female, so you can adjust the characters to fit your world.
A Day in the Life of Pat Johnson (a 6-year-old) Pat is now six years old and he has been a learner all of his life.
We are following him for the most part of a single day.
We really like him and we like that he is intense, involved, and eager about doing things and learning things.
How did he get that way? Well, that's what the remainder of these articles is about.
So now we'll take a look at Pat as a six-year-old and then we will go back, back, back to an earlier life and see how Chris and Kim lived and worked with him.
Saturday Morning -- 10:00 A.
-- At the Supermarket The Johnsons are doing their weekly grocery shopping -- actually, the cupboard was getting kind of bare so they decided that they would need to walk all of the aisles in the supermarket this time.
Kim has her shopping list and coupons ready to go.
Chris is at the helm of the shopping cart -- his second responsibility and ultra-important task is to keep their son, Pat, in sight at all times.
Pat is eager to help because that's what big six-year-old kids do.
," Kim says, "What kind of cereal do you want this time, Pat? Crunchy Rice? That's a new one.
You had better pick one of the small packages and make sure you're going to like it.
" Chris looks at the large signs and says, "Look, the cereals are on aisle 3.
I'll go along with you.
Do you see the Crunchy Rice?" "Yes, it's the blue box just like the one on television.
Let's see, this is the large box and, oh, here are the smaller boxes.
" "I'm going to make spaghetti this week so get some tomato paste from the end of this aisle.
Oh, it's on sale today-- get six cans.
No, not that brand -- we use the kind that begins with the letter C --that's it.
The red can.
Great, now are we going to have angel hair spaghetti or penne rigati macaroni? Let's do the angel hair spaghetti.
?" "O.
" "If you make Italian this week, I'm going to do a Chinese stir fry," says Kim.
"Pat, take Dad to the Chinese section and get water chestnuts, soy sauce, and bamboo shoots.
We'll get bean sprouts and some other vegetables at the produce section.
" "I know where the Chinese food section is, Dad.
Come on.
" At the produce section, Kim picks up a ½ pound package of bean sprouts.
She picks out some good Roma tomatoes and some really good looking California navel oranges.
"Pat, get me two of those plastic bags.
How about these oranges -- have you ever seen a better looking color orange?" "We need a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, and a pound of butter.
Here are the eggs -- let's check to see that there aren't any cracked one in this carton.
They look O.
Let's put them in the seat section of the cart.
" Dad says, "That gallon of 2% milk is what we want -- it's pretty high on the shelf so I'll get it down for you.
Here, can you carry it to the cart?" "Sure.
It's really cold.
" Pat asks if he could have a new toy he saw on TV.
Kim replied, "It'll come out of your allowance" and the discussion ends.
And on the shopping goes -- Mom and Dad keep talking to Pat and the talk is loaded with words that are rich in color, weight, measure, temperature, and number.
There are many words that are descriptive and they are always used correctly.
There is a lot more to Pat's day as described in our book, The Natural Path to Learning, but this is enough to give you an idea of what the Johnson family is about.
What do we have to do in order to be an Expert Champion; that Advocate, Supporter, Defender, Guide for our child/learner just as the Johnsons have done and are doing? We have to learn and carry out the correct role of Parent in this arena -- you and I are going to learn as much as we can about how children learn and use language.
We are going to assist our child in his growth -- become partners with him.
We're going to be the best possible Support System for our child so: We will learn the skills involved in reading, writing, and spelling so that we can help our child learn them easily and accurately.
We will become a Co-learner with our child as he grows in his use of language.
We will be a model for our child -- Read books, magazines, newspapers; use the dictionary and encyclopedia.
We will broaden our child's (and our own) knowledge with interesting experiences.
We will read to our child (a lot) especially at bedtime.
We will learn the correct interaction with our child as he learns and grows in stature.
We will know our child's abilities to do the required skills, his readiness to do them, and his emotional and psychological status in dealing with the learning activities.
We will learn to deal assertively, competently, and caringly with other significant adults; e.
, aunts, uncles, babysitters, parents-in-law, preschool teachers; so that they can become associate Co-learners (or at least stand by and watch).
Above all, we will be a Champion for our child, protect him from physical and psychological abuse (including our own), constantly let him know that we love him regardless of the results of his involvement in the activity.
Our love for him does not depend on how much he learns or how fast he learns it.
In short, we are joining our child in his growing so that we can take a positive, proactive, responsible role in his growth and learning processes -- to be his Champion.
Peter S.
Pierro, EdDparentscoachesasteam.

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