Giving Compass’ Take:
• Kyle Wagner lays out age-appropriate opportunities to teach students practical skills throughout their education.
• How can funders help identify and spread best practices in this area? What schools are already doing a good job of teaching practical skills?
There are some schools that have continued to prioritize practical skills as part of their curriculum for the past hundred years–many of which are Montessori schools, based on the philosophy of their visionary founder: Where school is not simply a place where instruction is given, but is “preparation for life itself.”
In aligning to this vision, these schools have created a curriculum to teach practical life skills that span from age 3-17.
Below is a short summary of the Montessori practices, their connection to key 21st-century skills, and prompts for how you might apply them to your own setting.
Early year teachers prepare the room in such a way as to artfully expose students to these practical skills as being a natural part of their environment. Each practical life material is carefully placed in its own designated area and color coordinated to ensure easy access and coordination in the classroom. There is a dishwashing station; laundry area with detergent and soiled clothes; and textile materials where students can learn how to button clothing and tie their own shoes. Teachers model how to utilize each station and then allow children the freedom to explore. Students naturally gravitate towards activities that interest them.
As children move into lower and upper elementary, they begin to integrate the practical life skills they learned in their early years. In long, extended work cycles, students are free to choose their work and manage their own time. Teachers pull students in small groups to present mini-lessons related to concepts and content within each subject. This freedom demands that students develop the practical executive functioning skills of task initiation, organizational planning, emotional control, self-regulation and efficacy crucial to success in today’s workplace.
Read the full article about teaching practical skills by Kyle Wagner at Getting Smart.
K-12 Education is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
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In addition to learning and connecting with others, taking action is a key step towards becoming an impact giver. If you are interested in giving with impact for Early Childhood take a look at these Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations or Projects.