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Recent article in the EE (Electronic Engineering) Times highlighted how some of the best engineers in the industry are lacking basic human skills. You can call it EQ (Emotional Quotient), people skills, social quotient, etc etc, they are all different yet so prominently missing from most professional skill sets.
One of the contributors at the Forbes magazine put together a list of 8 skills that professionals need to master in order to achieve long term success in any career path. Now some of us might be thinking, these skills will be software programming or life saving medical procedures or path breaking research or some unique art skills. Unfortunately that is not the case. They are communication skills, relationship building, decision making, critical thinking, planning & management, work-life balance, advocating for our cause and boundary enforcement.
We as parents constantly think of skills we would like our kids to develop as they are growing up but most of the time these are skills that are measured and can be graded. What about the invisible abstract life skills that are lacking in most individuals today? How and where do we start?
Are our children getting ready to live a life where they can not only use gadgets but forge relationships?
Are they becoming confident enough to make decisions that matter to them?
Are our schools helping them develop their self-esteem and sense of personal competence?
Are we as parents equipped to raise confident, critical thinkers?
Children learn throughout their life, yet years of research does point out that the skills reinforced in children until the age of 6 make the foundation. Yes, I do agree that it is also a difficult age to introduce concepts of boundary enforcement or planning and management or work life balance but these complex concepts stem from simple and basic ones.
I have been on a hunt to find schools that could possibly be using a curricula that is actually focused on inculcating these basic human skills in children that grades oriented skills training. I was lucky I came across one such amazing school and I could not wait to share it with you all!
KidStreet in Indiranagar, Bangalore was founded by a highly qualified group of people who have been working with typical and special needs kids in the past few years. Their inspiration to start KidStreet is clearly evident in their logo - The wheel of learning, a harmonious rolling of learning process that involves diversity in all areas. Children from diverse cultures and with different abilities interact with each other and help each other towards a blissful coexistence without diluting their uniqueness. Inclusion, Integrity, Learning together and Having fun are their key agenda items and it sound great!
Their Vision is a school where all children could become broad and adventurous thinkers while attending classes that reflect the similarities and differences of people in the real world; a preschool that helps them evolve into critical thinkers and learn to appreciate diversity with a positive understanding of themselves and others.
Learning at PlayStreet is about learning for life, not just grades. KidStreet believes that the most important competencies in young children can’t be tested. Naming letters and numbers is superficial and almost irrelevant in relation to the capacities we want to help children develop: self-regulation, problem solving ability, social and emotional inclusion, imagination, initiative, curiosity and original thinking — these capacities lead to critical thinking and mould the children to own their life in school and thereafter.
KidStreet is a jouney, not a destination. Life begins with exploration (Explorers 2-3 yrs), leading to adventures & fun (Adventurers 3-4 yrs), this improves the confidence to navigate through challenges (Navigators 4-5 yrs), and the knowledge to innovate and invent what we really like (Inventors 5 - 6 yrs).
Rhyme and Reason, curriculum developed by The Teacher Foundation, is a balanced program with equal elements of art and craft, songs, hands-on activities and concepts. Objectives are, for pre-school children to be able to learn exploration, utilize all their senses, get a good foundation in literacy, numeracy, and to develop age appropriate social and emotional skills.
Why KidStreet? The aim of the program is the help the children develop security, belonging, trust, responsibility, competence, confidence, self-regulation, self-control, ability to make decisions, choices, contributions, feel encouraged, motivated, accept failure, get rewarded, improve self-esteem. Here they don't just come to listen, follow and learn but also to think critically and question it, their learning is at their pace so they get enough time to process and absorb.
But finally what impressed me the most was the quote that the founders took to heart when they laid the first stone of the school. "I never let my schooling interfere with my education" ~ Mark Twain
Reach out to KidStreet, visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kidstreetindia/ to plan a visit with your kid and enter a world of exciting learning opportunities! I wish you all the best!