How The Toddler Years Are The Perfect Time To Start Cultivating Mastery
My Daughter will turn three at the beginning of the new year. This is by far the most fun time I’ve had with her thus far. As her interests, understanding and vocabulary grow, she’s beginning to show signs of proficiency in several things. She loves to dance, so she’ll begin dance classes soon. At the same time, she’ll begin her judo training.
Having worked with two year olds, I have discovered that there is an enormous difference in their ability to comprehend and execute movement compared to a three year old. This can make having these ages in the same class unproductive. These two groups need distinctly different curriculum and activities. Three year old children, however, are often nearly in step with four year olds. Working with them as a group also provides great opportunities to teach the children about structured learning and mentorship. The older kids take a leadership role. The younger kids mirror the older kids. And so the cycle goes.
By the time a toddler turns four, he may have a year of training under his belt. At four years old, the movements begin to look more fluid. Once moving on to the 5-7 year old class, the child that has already been training for two years will have better coordination and balance than his five year old counterpart.
Play becomes training in a class of three and four year olds. The line between the two is blurry enough that the practice isn’t seen as work. Yet the movements and continued repetition through games and exercises lay the foundation for mastery.
There are few star athletes that did not begin their training while very young. The activities become habit and practice leads to proficiency. This opens the door for mastery. When a child learns something just as there ability to speak and think is shaping, it will all become second nature. And above all, the discipline they have cultivated will be a part of their life forever.