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  • Beyond academics



    Most parents would agree with me that what is most important to us about our kids is that they grow to be good, healthy, happy adults.

    We all worry and care about the same.

    Childhood is different from when we were kids. We live in a world that is constantly changing. There is information overload and constant distractions and stimulus. A lot has changed in the last thirty years, when I was in high school (in the nineties) I did not have a cell-phone and spent most of my afternoons writing on my dairy (which was totally private) and or studying with friends from paper books or class notes (taken from a chalk board).

    The world has changed dramatically and with its changes; education has remained pretty much the same. Driven by an intellectual model of the mind and a different economic model, the academically driven model is still with us today.

    It is imperative that schools incorporate a new model. Experts agree that most of the jobs of the next ten years have not yet been created. With the changing world we need dynamic classrooms that allow adaptation to the changing needs. It is not about specific set of skills or technology. I honestly dislike when some schools brag about incorporating the latest technology into their methodologies or classrooms. Great to hear I say, but the use of technology does not necessarily equate innovation or advancement in the educational models that will prepare kids to be happy and useful citizens of the 21century. On the contrary, technology should be seen as a tool and solely as a tool. While I am an advocate for more recess and less homework, I’d like to argue that t is not even about less homework or more play or organic lunches. It goes beyond “compartmentalized” ideas or initiatives. It requires a change of paradigms.

    Educating kids for the 21st century requires much more than all of that.  Research indicates that there is an evident gap between the knowledge and skills most students learn in school and the knowledge and skills they need in typical 21st century communities and business environments. According to experts, building  “21st century skills” includes opportunities to develop empathy, connectivity, collaboration, resilience, creativity and relationship building among others. In my opinion, as a former educator, it should be as simple yet as comprehensive as educating the mental, spiritual, physical and emotional well-being of kids through project based and hands on interdisciplinary opportunities for learning. What does that mean in plain English? Well, basically, acknowledging the many facets of the world of a child (mental, emotional, physical and spiritual) and providing opportunities within the school day for kids to learn in a dynamic setting.

    Yes, we are all in this together. We, as parents have the biggest responsibility, no question about that. However, as part of a larger, interdependent community the schools share responsibility for nurturing the whole child. According to the history of education and what many experts agree -schools should serve both individuals and the larger society. A modern society not only needs competent workers who will keep the nation competitive in the world market but also well -rounded human beings (respectful, committed and empathic adults that can think critically and are aware of global problems).

    And as I first started this article, most parents would agree with me- our ideal – educational system would be a system that supports children in becoming successful, loving, empathic, cooperative, happy, balanced, and contributing members of our world. I do hope schools come on board and start sharing that responsibility with us.

    If you would like to learn more about this topic join us at the upcoming Schools Fair & Conference October 22.  There is still a long way to go but here are many great things happening in the country. We have experts coming from New York as well as California and they will be sharing what other states are doing on this front.

    RSVP Before October 22, Miamischoolsfair.com



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