I would like you to think of and compare the Chrysalis Teachings to the stages of progress of the first seven grades of elementary school. First grade, learning to leave home and be away from the parenting influence, can be compared to those leaving the church teachings. Leaving those comforting, homey teachings and coming under a teacher they have never known before is a frightening experience to most people.
Just like a child entering the first grade, a great big, wide, wonderful world begins to open up for them and they realize that this new teacher, although much more disciplined than the parents were, is still kind and does not undermine the teachings given the child by the parents. The parents still have final authority for the child, until the child is old enough to decide for himself whether he wants to progress on and “learn to read more of those exciting books and do more than just printing his name and learning a few numbers, or do singsong chanting of little poems and songs. This craving for further knowledge is, remember, the first thing the teachers and guides look for to begin to further that “child’s” education and awareness.
The second grade is then entered. This is where the child is taught to work in groups, to cooperate and blend and harmonize to a fuller extent than he could in first grade. The teachings are furthered by organizing little study groups that come together about every three weeks and then exchange bits and pieces of their stories. The children in the second grade basically learn harmony with others.
The third grader is beginning to realize that he or she is different from all those others. There are always little squabbles going on at recess on the playground. There are incidents of hair pulling and name calling and pinching in the lunch line. This behavior is normal to third graders. They must learn just how far they can go to express their new found individuality. They must learn there are guidelines that they must observe. At the same time, they see a larger picture of the coming grades of school and realize that “they are in for it.” This also adds to frustration and causes misbehavior. The third grade is one of the most important grades in the stages of growth, not only for grade school children but also for all humanity in the over-all path.
The fourth grader again works back towards getting along with others, accepting the fact that Bobby is better than he at drawing or Janie can read faster and is the leader of the Bluebird reading group. But a wise teacher will try, at this point, to bring out one main activity in each student that can be, perhaps, developed more in this one than in others. The teacher then lets it become known to all the class that Johnny, even though a slow reader, can be a whiz at taking care of the gold fish or perhaps stacking books up neatly and respecting them, or even just cleaning blackboards. This fourth grade stresses self-esteem and the value of each member as far as his contributions to the whole grade.
Fifth graders are the most loving of all the classes in school. They are back to learning after the summer vacation and realize they are truly glad to be together, to see all others and to share all parts of their lives and activities with each other. The teacher draws on this togetherness and they are very good at pulling together to put on special plays and performances to demonstrate to the younger grades how well they get along. Perhaps they do not make as much progress as other grades, so far as academic standing goes, but they do settle in and become part of all the knowledge and learning gained thus far.
Those in the sixth grade are again struggling with their individuality. They sense that they are on the brink of new discoveries; far reaching horizons are within their grasp mentally, but physically they must continue to sit in their seats and study until this term of schooling is ended. They are getting anxious to have more freedom in their mental studies and also know that at home they will be allowed to make more decisions on their own and have more freedom to move about.
This stage is one of great growth and discovery of what one’s own self is really all about and should be encouraged by those teaching this grade. These sixth graders are at a very special and crucial point in their development as loving individuals and are at the critical point as far as having self-esteem ingrained into their being. This is a very important stage in anyone’s schooling, be it academic or spiritual. Also the physical body is of course going through the many, many changes necessary to be able to encompass the changes that are taking place in the other bodies at this time. If the physical body does not receive proper nutrition at this time, development of the other areas will be greatly slowed and damaged.
The move to seventh grade at last! “Now I can try out some of my own ideas when writing essays or giving debates or talks. I wonder if my ideas are too far out from most of the other kids. Oh well, they are probably wondering the same thing.” Doubts and uncertainties abound in those at this stage of their education and this is not a year to send them into a strange school with older children as so many of our schools are doing now. The time when that can and should be done is the following grade, that of the eighth. Those in the seventh grade need to have the security of familiar surroundings because of all the other changes they are going through. True, before the first semester is even over they are gaining self-confidence.
These seventh graders make excellent teacher’s helpers. In fact, this should be encouraged and instigated into our school systems at this point. Midway through the seventh grade all should take a limited amount of time and be sent to lower grades as helpers. As a matter of fact, this system should be employed from this grade on until graduation and should simply be termed student teaching and students given credit for it. This would aid everyone involved with our school systems. The children in the lower grades would benefit greatly from this exposure to older children. Remember some of them have no older brothers or sisters to mix with at home. The student teachers would have a chance to put some of their ideas to the test and also, some of them have no younger brothers or sisters to be around.
The teachers would have a lot of tasks relieved from their shoulders and at the same time would, perhaps, learn and gain from the experience by noting how some of the older children can stimulate the younger. The parents at home would also gain as they would have much more fulfilled, balanced and happy youngsters. Even the Creator God Himself would benefit from all this, believe me, as He would have that many more new, creative ideas being put forth into the atmosphere. This course of student teaching is perhaps the one thing that could single-handedly save our school systems from having unhappy, unfulfilled, bored, restless students!