Twenty-first-century skills are a hot topic in education today; some even call them the new building blocks for learning. Our children will need to survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive global landscape, and at the same time be able to collaborate with others from all over the world. Creativity and innovation will be highly prized, both for developing technology and new media, and for solving challenges with more limited resources. So how do we prepare our children for the jobs of the future?
What new skills will kids need?
Experts worldwide acknowledge that today’s children need more than the traditional 3 Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic) to prepare for 21st century careers. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (PS21), for example, is working with state educational leaders on a new classroom curriculum that adds the 4 Cs:
What the complete set of skills includes—and how to develop it in the classroom—is still under debate. Yet, if there’s a common thread, it’s that 21st century skills are a mix of new and old, encompassing traditional academics (literacy, mathematics, science and social studies), life skills such as collaboration, problem solving and creativity, and career skills such as innovation, technology and global awareness.
While some of these 21st century skills may not seem relevant for young children, it’s important to provide a good foundation at an early age.
Fostering 21st century skills at home
While schools are beginning to make the shift toward 21st century standards, there’s a lot that you can do as a parent to foster these skills at home. Try these ideas as starters for supporting your child’s success.