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Curriculum 21: Fostering Innovative Thinking and Learning

Global diversity…Entrepreneurial mindset…Effective, global communicators and collaborators…. World Languages…. Flexible thinking…. Personal Branding…. Social Producers…Digital and visual literacy…. Innovators

These are just some of the buzzwords surrounding what The Cushman School’s educational landscape will encompass to prepare your children for a rapidly changing world. The research reports that today’s school age students will hold an average of 7 jobs in their adult lives. This is very different from the traditional career paths that many of us pursued where one selected one career for a lifetime. We now know that the majority of the jobs that will be available to current kindergarteners when they enter the workforce have not even been imagined yet! So how do we best prepare our children so they have the skills that they will need to be successful, future leaders in their fields? Researchers such as Dr. Bena Kallick, co-author of Learning and Leading with the Habits of Mind, have addressed this issue and tell us that there are certain dispositions, or Habits of Mind, that we can develop in our children so they can be best prepared to be happy, engaged 21st century learners and adults. These 16 Habits of Mind include the virtues set forth by Dr. Cushman 90 years ago and are the framework that will lead our students to demonstrate 21st century skills.

In Tony Wagner’s book, Creating Innovators, he identifies exploratory forms of play in childhood as a highly contributing factor to growing as an innovator. At Cushman, the concept of play comes in such forms of activities as experimenting, designing, composing, or programming. Through this play model, and whether through early childhood centers or Alice computer programming, children learn to generate and materialize their ideas. The administration, faculty and staff will continue to work together to reconsider a school growth model in which we, as a professional learning community, will embrace and bring forward to your children a program that will foster their innovative and design thinking through integrative, project-based learning.

This summer, all of Cushman’s faculty and staff are reading the book, Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World. Please join us in enjoying this selection, and I look forward to engaging in a ‘Book Talk’ with you during this school year. You may also enjoy reading the following books the administrators are reading and viewing the short video clip below:

Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner

How Children Succeed- Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation will Change the Way the World Learns by Clayton M. Christensen

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown & Christopher Vaughan

 “Where Good Ideas Come From” Good Ideas – short video clip – Steven Johnson –

I look forward to seeing each of you soon for an exceptional 2013-2014 school year!