Honing 21st Century Skills in Elementary School
by Michelle Kimball, Lower School Teacher
We hear a lot about the importance of fostering 21st century skills in children of all ages, but what does that look like at Sparhawk?
At the Lower School we are fortunate to be able to work with children in small groups which enhances our ability to provide opportunities for cultivating what's known as the "6 C's" - Critical thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Citizenship, and Character education.
These ideals are practiced everyday at Sparhawk, both in our indoor and outdoor classrooms, but especially during our Project-based Learning (PBL) initiatives where student groups tackle real life questions or problems. Last year's Whittier Literary Cottage project is a great example of a year long PBL. Students renovated an under utilized campus structure to create their masterpiece. They collaborated while researching and planning the renovation, using critical thinking and problem solving skills frequently in the process. Creativity was used in the design stage with the skilled support of a parent architect. During the ribbon cutting ceremony, with the mayor of Amesbury and other guests of honor in attendance, Sparhawk students shined as they communicated their renovation journey as proud, productive students and citizens.
Did teachers and other adults help with the project? Of course. They acted as guides when needed but let the students struggle with problems and make mistakes along the way. Why? Because it is in the struggle that much of the most important learning for their future success happens.