Strong Start Early Learning Center is an Early Care and Education Center providing high-quality care for children in the Trumbull and Bridgeport area. We support emotional, physical, and cognitive growth for all the children in our care through a curriculum that is centered on early childhood development. Our curriculum uses an inquiry-based approach to teaching. This approach is consistent with the assessment of the National Partnership for 21st Century Learning. This week we will touch on this initiative and its implication for teaching.
A Changing World
The world today is not as it was when we were young. Depending on your age, you may have grown up with some computer skills being taught, but you might not be an actual native computer user the way the children born in the last 15 years are. These children learn differently than their parents, and certainly much differently than their grandparents, and so they must be taught differently. Furthermore, the world they will enter as adults will be different that the world we inhabit today. We must prepare them for their future, no matter what it holds.
No longer is education focusing narrowly on the 3 R’s of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Instead, there are umbrella areas that need to be taught, fostered, and expanded upon. These fields are general areas that children will be able to use no matter what the future holds. We know that these are broad areas and need to be introduced at developmentally appropriate times, and in such a way that the children feel challenged, but not frustrated. A well-designed curriculum, such as the one used at Strong Start, answers the challenges.
Meta-learning and Critical Thinking
- Children need to be taught how to teach themselves. This new generation is more autodidactic that generation in the past. They need to have an understanding of their own learning styles and how compensate for their weaknesses.
- They look things up on the internet and do their own research, and because of the proliferation of (sometimes false) information on the the internet, they will need to use their critical thinking skills to evaluate information for accuracy and relevance as well.
- The skill of leadership will always be needed, and every field that exists depends on leadership.
- Teaching children leadership by modeling it, and by providing opportunities for them to practice their skills, is now essential.
- Project management will always be a valuable skill and is best learned by doing.
Collaboration and Teamwork
- Try to forget the trauma you sustained from group projects in your school years. You know that when you get into the workplace, people do have to pull together and work together.
- These skills have to be taught and honed in the classroom, even from a young age.
- From global climate change to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the problems of the coming century will require problem solving and innovation, perhaps beyond our wildest imaginations.
- Allowing children to develop an open mind to problem solving is key.
- From the global community to a multicultural classroom, students need to learn tolerance for people unlike themselves and ideas that seem to challenge their viewpoints.
- Being able to think outside the box is a valuable skill in every conceivable field, from cancer research to computer engineering. The innovation of the coming century will build on the past, but if the last 30 years in any indication.
Children start constructing a view of the world at a young age, so it is never too early to start teaching them skills they will need to survive and succeed in their future. We at Strong Start believe in the intellectual potential of all children, and we work every day to help build in them the skills and characteristics that will take them wherever they choose to go in life.