Some churches set up their Sunday School and Vacation Bible School programs to mimic the grade levels of our public school system. Rigidly (legalistically?) adhering to these invisible dividing lines can create a negative situation for an older child with developmental delays.
I had what I thought was a
For some reason that I do not understand, some churches have a problem with this idea. Some church folk think I've lost my mind for suggesting it and can't imagine that it was a well-thought-through idea with some solid reasoning behind it.
Wednesday, on the yahoo group devoted to discussing Dr James D MacDonald's Communicating Partners program, "Dr Jim" typed these words that supports and illustrates my perspective:
"One more response to what you said about restrictive environments and inclusion. Certainly we want boundaries or restrictions for a child's developmental stages... you want restriction on his curriculum so he isn't fruitlessly taught things he is not ready for. Similarly you do not want an inclusive program if it means the child is overwhelmed by faster, louder and more advanced students or with courses they are not ready for."
My princess has spent many years in situations that are developmentally over her head. What is wrong with my wanting, finally, now that we know better, to intentionally put her in situations where interaction and comprehension is not so much anxiety-producing work for her?
She's making discoveries about herself and others that prek/k-ers are making. She's making self-to-text and text-to-self connections at that level. I'm so encouraged by her progress! Let's give her more practice by finding more developmentally appropriate opportunities for her to make more discoveries and connections! Apparently, my opinion is in the minority.
I do like the idea of a one-room schoolhouse, too, with all ages and stages represented. One-room schoolhouses or childrens ministries are hard to come by these days.
Interestingly, we learned through another family about an area church that is already allowing older children who have developmental delays to attend classes for much younger children, because the younger class is a better fit for the child. They have flexible dividing lines that separate classes for children. What a brilliant idea!