GrowingKids.org

Understanding the Early Childhood Transition Series

Preface

Change! It seems to be a way of life in a rapidly expanding, knowledge-based society where technology changes everyday. New innovations impact life styles and the way people learn. Parenting curriculums, once designed to cover large blocks of developmental time are less effective today than years gone by. Precision teaching with concise thoughts for specific age ranges seems to be the way of educational life now.


In response to the many changes in the field of early childhood education, GFI retooled its teaching philosophy to meet the unique needs of a new parenting generation. These changes are found in our early childhood transition curriculums. We trust the following explanation will help the GFI leadership formulate and implement their plans for classes.


Introduction

There are a number of ways to approach and teach child development concepts. As it relates to the early childhood curriculum, GFI has moved to specific age-segmented teachings that disseminate pertinent information based on age-related topics and categories. Each of our new curriculums cover specific developmental periods reflecting the upward movement of a child’s developing body, emotions and intellect. In this way, the GFI community of parents receives age-appropriate instruction for the specific set of new skills and abilities emerging with their growing children.


In formulating the new curriculum we found the communication and dissemination of early childhood principles is easily and naturally divided into four developmental stages, starting at birth and running to thirty-six months. Each stage represents new growth transitions requiring parents to accommodate the changes taking place as their baby grows.

Early Childhood Curriculum Summary

· Stage One: Birth to 5 Months (6 Sessions) Preparation for Parenting

· Stage Two: 5 to 12 Months: (2 Sessions) The Babyhood Transitions (Parenting Your 5 to 12 Month Old)

· Stage Three: 12 to 18 Months (4 Sessions) Preparation for the Toddler Years (Parenting Your 12 to 18 Month Old)

· Stage Four: 18-36 Months (10 Sessions) The Toddlerhood Transition (Parenting Your 18 Month to 3-Year Old)


Course Benefits

One unique and exciting thread that follows each curriculum is an improved small group dynamic. The shortened curriculum with specific age related teaching allows parents who start together in Preparation for Parenting to stay together as they move through each series.


While some GFI ministries have specific leaders teaching specific classes, the new curriculum style also allows for an additional mentoring option. That being, the couple who leads Preparation for Parenting can stay with the same group as they journey through the next several curriculums. This not only increases continuity of leadership but helps build a growing sense of community among class participants. The Ezzos have worked with the new format and found beneficial results unmatched in previous curriculums. As class members interact together with each new phase of their baby’s life, they are simultaneously interacting with other parents of common interest and like-mindedness, parents who will share a small group experience for the next three years. Out of common need comes a common bond of friendship and support.


The shortened curriculums also help with the scheduling of future classes. For example, Gary and Anne Marie led a Preparation for Parenting class in January of 2008. Most of those parents had their babies a few months later. The same group of parents will reconvene with the Ezzos in August 2008 for the Babyhood Transitions class, (5 to 12 months of age). Six months later, (February-March 2009) they will meet again for Preparation for the Toddler Years and following six to seven months after that, they return to complete The Toddlerhood Transition course. From there it is onto Growing Kids God’s Way, most likely as a group with the Ezzos.


While GFI will not require local ministries to use the same teachers as described in the model above, we will encourage our worldwide leadership to consider this a viable option for mentoring with a long range view toward building even stronger communities of likeminded families.


Curriculum Overview

Preparation for Parenting (The Original Feed ~ Wake ~ Sleep Reference Guide to Nurturing a Newborn) 6 Sessions

For over twenty-five years Preparation for Parenting has led the way in infant care advice with proven successful outcomes numbering in the millions. The infant management plan offered by the Ezzos successfully and naturally helps infants synchronize their feeding/waketime and nighttime sleep cycles. The results? A happy, healthy and contented baby who begins sleeping through the night, on average between seven and nine weeks of age.


The Babyhood Transitions (Parenting Your 5 to 12 Month Old) 2 Sessions

This is the first of a three part series covering the expanding feeding, wake and naptime transitions for babies. Informative, practical, and fast moving, the Babyhood Transitions was designed to assist parents in establishing the right patterns of learning for their child in the critical periods of brain formation and adaptation. From the introduction of solid foods to creating learning opportunities in the playpen and everything in between, parents will find this newest release pertinent, specific in content and very relevant to the learning style of a new parenting generation. (Parents should plan on attending a class as their baby approaches five to six months of age.)


Preparation for the Toddler Years (Parenting Your 12 to 18 Month Old) 4 Sessions

This four-session presentation continues where the Babyhood Transitions leaves off. During this next phase, the newly emerging walking, talking, exploring child begins a developmental metamorphous from babyhood to a full blown toddler. This means the transitions successfully accomplished a few months ago gives way to new abilities and challenges as baby’s world and mind expands exponentially. As mealtime and waketime activities become more complex, parenting strategies must adjust to properly stay up with the child’s expanding world of discovery. Preparation for the Toddler Years does just what its title implies gets parents ready for the hectic, fast moving, exciting and fatiguing toddler years.


The Toddlerhood Transition (Parenting Your 18 to 36 Month Old) 10 Sessions (Anticipated Release April 09)

In just under 18 months, the helpless, immobile infant, lying in his crib grows into a fast moving, talking, walking, exploratory person marked by keen senses, clear memory, quick perceptions and unlimited energy. The child emerges into a period of life known affectionately as the “Toddler Years,” a phase of spontaneous, engaging yet challenging time for child and parent. The budding toddler has his own peculiar way. Therefore, helping parents understand the toddlerhood transitions is a ‘must’ obtain goal. This forth curriculum concerns itself with specific “toddler” issues that will ready the child for moral, social and intellectual achievement.


What Leaders Need to Know

As is the case with all of the GFI curriculums, the new courses are self contained units presented in DVD format. Specific recommendations and suggestions for leading any particular curriculum will be found in the companion workbook. Leaders will notice two changes in the new curriculum that affects the dynamics of the video presentation. First, each session is divided into three or four teaching segments. Each segment targets a specific topic within the general presentation. At the end of each segment, we placed a summary of the key points just covered. This brings us to our second change. The new format no longer needs the outlines to track the key points of the presentation since the segment summaries bundles this information in a concise review.


What has not changed is the “Questions for Review” found at the end of each chapter. They remain part of the course work and still considered a great way to foster discussion.


Common Questions:

Question One: Does GFI have plans to update Preparation for Parenting in the same format as the new Babyhood Transitions course?

Ans. Yes, it is being targeted for taping in late 2010.


Question Two: Why is GFI splitting the Preparation for the Toddler Years into two series instead of keeping it a single curriculum?

Ans. As mentioned above we believe it is not in the best interest of parents to receive teaching that is not immediately applicable to the developmental age of their child. When considering the toddler years for example, there is an enormous developmental difference between a twelve month and thirty month old child. As a result, a single curriculum spanning a number of growth stages will always have limited benefits because the information is not always immediately relevant. Information that can not be applied because the child is past that developmental point or will not reach that phase for another year is not helpful information. GFI made the decision to divide the curriculums based on these teaching concerns.


Question Three: Will the decision to divide the new curriculums (Preparation for the Toddler Years and The Toddler Years Transitions) delay the release of either course?

Ans. Since most of the taping for the series was completed prior to the decision to split the curriculum, we do not anticipate any significant delays as a result of this change. The original release date was already pushed back several months due to equipment delivery problems outside GFI’s control.


Question Four: What is the status of the new Parenting by Principle series introduced at the 2007 National Conference?

Ans. The new series continues to receive much of our time and attention although at the time of this post we are many months behind schedule.  The new series will begin after the completion of the other curriculums are completed.


Question Five: Does GFI have plans to drop Growing Kids God’s Way or replace it with a new curriculum?

Ans. No. Growing Kids God’s Way has blessed millions of households and continues as a leading parenting curriculum worldwide. There is no compelling reason, nor any thought given to dropping or changing the curriculum. GFI newest releases will complement not replace GKGW.