21st century skills in early childhood: Prepare them for their future.

The world is always changing and evolving. Jobs change. Technology changes. It is time we change the way we teach.

Children will be exposed to careers that don’t even exist. But how can we help them prepare for the uncertainty of the future?

In this digital age, children need to cope to this always changing environment by developing skills that can help with their future success. There are four basic skills that have been identified by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), these are critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

Exploring opportunities starts early

Expose children to possible careers. Children can engage with other children by learning about new careers. Early exposure to career knowledge can stimulate students to want to learn more about STEAM. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Allowing children to participate in activities that involves professional careers, allows them to solve problems, ask questions, and explore the world around us. Find online resources to expose children to career possibilities as diverse as a scientist, data analyst, or computer programmer. Find this Genius Plaza video of a professional engineer: https://www.geniusplaza.com/en/resources?type=video&id=15260

Strong family involvement. Provide stronger support for families through communication tools streamed directly to their devices in real time. Using these methods, teachers and child care providers can facilitate interaction and support to children facing challenges. Genius Plaza offers an app for teachers, principals and families to communicate in more than 30 languages. Download the Genius PreK app and discover a new world of opportunities.

Creative activities in the classroom. Envolve the classroom a STEAM awareness environment. To incorporate children in the learning experience incorporate hands on activities and experiments that will develop their critical thinking and scientific skills. One great example is to incorporate a construction or block area in your classroom. Using blocks, children can build ramps, bridges and machines. When faced with a block-building problem, children have opportunities to engage in both engineering and designing (Van Meeteren & Zan 2010).

Developing soft and hard skills

To create the most competent learners and citizens, soft and hard skills are vital for children’s development. Soft skills such as self-confidence, work ethic, and positive attitude are difficult to measure; while they greatly impact an individual’s chances for success, they are not normally taught through traditional education. Hard skills are easily defined and obviously measurable. They include technical mastery and vocational qualifications. Writing, math, and reading are examples of hard skills. As careers develop, hard skills, are important for knowledge advancement, while soft skills continue to play the biggest role in determining your chances of achieving success.

Children need to be exposed early in life to new technologies and skills that will help them prepare for the future. We have to prepare our children for the unknown and for a fast-changing environment.

 

 

In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”  – Gandhi