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News from Head of Early Years Centre, Michelle Stevens

22 May 2015

There’s a word for “people who are in their heads too much”: thinkers.

Last year some time I wrote a similar article and in conversation with a parent
this week discussing this very notion, I thought it was worth mentioning once
When I pop into classes at Dąbrowskiego, our Early Years Centre, it is always
wonderful to witness the hustle and bustle of learning taking place. Most educational institutionsand modern classrooms are designed for extroverts and therefore at times the child who is quiet and an introvert can appear to be lost in the noise surrounding them.
I would highly recommend you read the book, Quiet: “The Power of Introverts in a World
That Can’t Stop Talking “ by Susan Cain. This book shines a light on introverts and makes the
case that they, too, have an important role in a world that reveres extroverts.
Introverted children can at times be misunderstood by their teachers, even by their parents, who worry about them. They often appear to be absorbed and engaged by their inner world and are often regarded as aloof. These children can be easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation, sometimes they even appear to be unmotivated. They are content with just one or two close friends, and may even be mistaken as unpopular. In my teaching experience, parents often worry if their children are shy, because of the cultural message that being shy is not OK or that shy children cannot get ahead in life. The best advice to parents of introverts is to stop pushing them toward more social activities, and allow them to do what they do best; create, reflect, and deliberate, especially since these skills are most useful.
Introverted children are mostly creative problem solvers and love to learn. Studies indicate that they have a high EQ (emotional IQ) and are in touch with their feelings. They take time to stop and smell the roses, and they enjoy their own company. Children who tend to be introverts are dependable, persistent and flexible.
As adults who care for these children, we should foster a climate that allows introverted kids
to discover their inner strengths; introverts would do well to cultivate some social skills, like
learning how to have small talk and making eye contact when speaking, to help them navigate
social situations that may be required for their work life or social life. It would also be helpful
though, if we could meet introverts halfway, and learn to look at the value of being quiet and
reflective. Perhaps if we were more aware of the benefits of this, we would stop talking so much and learn to listen better.