The world today is changing rapidly. Early education is one of the many fields adapting and evolving to keep up and stay relevant. Moreover, education needs to remain a step ahead tasked with preparing children of today for the challenges of tomorrow. The European Political Strategy Center (EPSC) which is the European Commission’s in-house think tank has identified 10 trends of 2017 transforming education as we know it. Let’s take a closer look at 5 trends evolving early education.
1. Investing in early education is socially fair and economically efficient.
EPSC declares education received in early childhood to change life prospects of individuals. Preschool education promotes cognitive, character and social skills of little children. Furthermore, it gives them an advantage in future education, well-being, employability and social integration. Moreover, early childcare enables mothers to return to work and children from disadvantaged backgrounds to access wider social benefits. Thus, it makes a direct impact on boosting equality. Therefore, investing heavily in early education is both ‘socially fair’ and ‘economically efficient’.
2. Embracing lifelong learning
We are tasked with preparing children for jobs which do not even exist today. This calls for supporting kids to ‘learn how to learn’ and continue learning throughout their lives. Therefore, education is no longer limited to an age or a classroom. Rather it is a continuous process of acquiring and updating skills and knowledge. Thus, schools are required to teach the benefits of lifelong education and make the it inclusive for all.
3. Digital skills becoming a core literacy
According to European Commission research 93% of European workplaces use desktop computers. Majority of the world today is digital and we must help children to navigate through its complexities. Luckily we also live in a time where the younger generations thrive in cutting-edge digital skills compared to their older peers. Just as numeracy and literacy, digital skills are also fundamental. Therefore, it is important to support everyone on the planet to develop these skills and access technologies.
4. Moving from standardized to personalized education
The world has moved from an industrial era to a knowledge-based economy. Thus, it needs highly-skilled individuals with expert knowledge and unique skills. Therefore, education too is shifting from a one-size-fits-all model to one with individualized, digitally-enabled learning paths. However, it also requires teachers to adapt from being lecturers to ‘learning coaches’ and ‘mentors’. It return this will empower them to harness the innate talents and capabilities of students.
5. Adapting an interdisciplinary, technology-powered learning approach
Modern day challenges such as climate change, resource security, health, or governing culturally plural societies, require innovative solutions. Therefore, education approaches must be holistic and draw knowledge from multitudes of disciplines. Moreover, they must use modern technology meaningfully to address these complex issues.
Finland is one of the countries already pioneering in this area. The nation has introduced phenomenon-based, interdisciplinary teaching in place of traditional subjects within schools. This collaborative and simulating learning approach combined with technology, is bringing subjects learned to life.
As parents, educators and individuals interested in shaping the future of early education we must closely follow these trends. We need to identify what works best and continuously strive to make them even more effective. Together we can provide every child on the planet the best start in life and support them to face challenges of tomorrow.
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