Our world is changing faster than ever before. New technologies, new industries, and, as we have seen this past year, new viruses that turn our world upside down. So, with all this uncertainty, how do we educate our youngest citizens to ensure they will thrive in this ever-changing world?
Above all, our efforts should be put towards ensuring that children love to learn. If change is the word of our time, we know that learning and adapting will be paramount. Research shows that children who grow up with a positive attitude toward schooling have a much higher likelihood of succeeding in their later studies and of pursuing post-secondary education.
A key element to this love of learning is instilling a sense of confidence and self worth. When young children see themselves as valued citizens they are much more likely to engage in their education authentically, to ask their burning questions about the world around them: “Why is my shadow so big?” “Where does the squirrel live?” “Why is Devyn sad today?” And when they do, our responsibility isn’t to answer their questions, but rather to support their questioning and their process of making sense of the world. When we position ourselves as co-learners, walking along these journeys of inquiry with children, we show them that they are capable of solving problems.
More than ever before, the world is showing us that collaboration is our only solution to tackling the complexities of our future. Children need to learn to work together, which involves both active listening but also empathy and emotional intelligence. The 2018 RBC report Humans Wanted found that “virtually all job openings will place significant importance on judgment and decision making.” When children learn that each of us has a unique and valuable perspective, they learn that together we are more amazing and capable than when we are alone. These are the children who will go on to solve the problems of the world.
The “skill” that ties all of this together? Creativity. As the late Sir Ken Robinson, visionary cultural leader, author and famous TED presenter, so clearly argues: when our future is so unpredictable, we must help children to hold on to their extraordinary capacity for creativity. We must allow them to express themselves in hundreds of ways, with hundreds of materials. We must encourage them to explore the world deeply and authentically, unhindered by worksheets and prescribed tasks. Yes, literacy and numeracy must be taught, but not at the expense of creativity, rather alongside it and embedded within it.
At Atelier Kids Early Learning & Care, we pride ourselves on placing the image of the child at the heart of all our decisions. We listen intently to our youngest citizens as they ask questions about their world, encourage their theories and give them endless opportunities to test them out. We ensure social emotional learning is embedded in every day’s explorations, and we love our children like our own. Visit our homelike, welcoming, bespoke learning environment and Reggio-inspired centre at atelierkids.com to learn more about our childcare centre and our NEW Kindergarten Program.