On 15th& 16thJanuary 2013 the ITF Children’s Development Committee met in Amsterdam to discuss the future of the Kid’s Development Program. The three Committee members were Master Donato Nardizzi (England), Fabian Izquierdo (Argentina) and the latest member to join the Committee, Philip Lear (England). Master Willy Van Der Mortel (Netherlands) was also expected to attend but was unable to because of the poor road conditions due to the snow.
On the first day, the Committee met with three members of the ITF Board: The President GM Trajtenberg, GM Bos and Master Ferrando. They discussed the importance of the ITF Kid’s Development Program as a means to provide a broad based foundation for young children rather than rushing them through the grades. Today, more children are starting Taekwon-Do at an early age and we are seeing too many young children achieving Black Belt status too quickly by following the adult syllabus. Promotion to Black belt indicates a certain degree of maturity but the children may not have the same level wisdom and broad range of life experiences as an adult. It was agreed that the ITF has a responsibility to encourage instructors to utilise the Kid’s Development Program which provides the necessary broad range of knowledge and experience for their young students at a pace that is suitable for their age group.
It was proposed that elements of the Children’s Development course should be included in all the IIC’s after summer 2013. The proposal is to have a three hour seminar in every IIC about teaching strategies for young students. This would not only benefit instructors who teach young children but also those that teach older students with learning difficulties. Many teaching strategies will be taught which enable the instructor to simplify the various Taekwon-Do skills by breaking them down into simpler parts. It is important that senior instructors and masters understand the teaching methods of the Kid’s Development Program regardless of whether they teach it directly or not. They may indeed have students who will become instructors of the Kids Development Program.
With three Children’s Development courses taking place in 2012, ways of facilitating more courses in 2013 were discussed. The ITF will make it easier for National Associations to host a Children’s Development Course in their country and, if necessary, to translate the Study Book in their own language.
It was agreed to have a dedicated website for the Kids Program which will have its own domain name and have a link from the official ITF website. This will serve to promote the Kids Development Program as well as providing the students, parents and instructors with additional resources.
Ways of making an easy transition for instructors who are already running other children’s programmes were discussed. This is not too difficult as the ITF Kid’s Development Program was designed with flexibility in mind. The biggest problem was that of changing over doboks to the new approved ITF children’s dobok for students using a non ITF approved dobok. Master Ferrando offered to speak to the sponsors to try to agree a deal for students needing to change their doboks.
On the second meeting of the day, the Committee continued to discuss ways in which the transition can be made from other kid’s programmes to the ITF Kid’s Program. Many children’s programmes have similar topics but they are perhaps arranged in different categories or themes. By adapting the assignment criteria for each grade level or badge award the ITF Kid’s Program can appear to be very similar to what the students were doing before.
On the second day, the Committee started work on the new website, designing the structure and listing the menu items. They even managed to write out some of the static content for various pages. There will be a section for kids that will include interactive games, cartoon strips, stories and activities using the five characters of the Program. The idea is to provide extra resources for the kids to help them learn all the topics and at the same time bring the five characters to life. There will be a section for parents not only to promote the Program but also to help them support their children with the homework tasks and learning the various topics. An instructor’s section with a log in facility for official ITF Kid’s Program Instructors only, will provide them with a wealth of resources including a database of games and activities, additional homework assignments and advice on teaching strategies and requirements.
The meeting ended with plenty of work done but still plenty of work left to do by each member of the Committee. They will continue to work on the website and planning the forthcoming courses. Look out for the more information about the Kid’s Development Program coming soon on the ITF website.