The beginning of the school year overflows with excitement, ambition, curiosity, and anticipation but before long, students will be well into their learning and routines. As a parent to three children at our school, I take confidence in the knowledge that all our students will experience a wide array of opportunities to foster a love of learning, build meaningful relationships, and continue to develop their character.
To clarify the qualities that assist this process, our team of educators collaborated last year to finalize the Portrait of the Learner. The Portrait of the Learner is seven student-friendly reflection statements. Curiosity, Resilience, Initiative, Balance, Integrity, Collaboration, and Empathy are integrated into the student learning experience with age and stage in mind. Intentional opportunities for self-reflection on these characteristics will be supported by presentations at assemblies and chapel. You might even notice posters around the school and bookmarks that find their way into your homes.
Why is this important? Learning in today’s classrooms can no longer be only about content and knowledge. The World Economic Forum continues to share research on the essential skills that will be required for the future: “Traditional career paths are on the way out…with jobs-for-life replaced by a new expectation among younger workers that they might hold 11 or more jobs throughout their lives.” For the most part, the future working world of today’s children has not yet been conceived. Thus, it is vital that in addition to fostering essential skills in literacy, numeracy, graphic design, and computational thinking, we consider the ‘soft skills’ that will lead to success: creative and critical thinking, empathy, resilience, and negotiation – to name a few.
The more that we can connect and contribute to resolving real-world issues in our own community and abroad, the better prepared our students will be for their future. Whether students launch a community project, design a new product, or provide recommendations to external organizations around environmental, sustainability and socioeconomic themes – you can rest assured that this school year will find our students preparing themselves for higher learning and for life.