The beginning of a new year always offers a sense of the possibilities, the promise of what is to come, the excitement of a new, fresh start.
It also raises questions about the future. For me, as an educator, the most salient question is “How do we prepare motivated, dedicated learners to meet the unforeseen challenges of tomorrow?”
In many ways, education is the means by which we overcome the fear of the unknown. More than 40 years ago, Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist known for his work on child development, declared that “the goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create people who are capable of doing new things.” Invent. Discover. Create.
Peter Drucker, Austrian-born American management guru, put a 21st century lens on Piaget’s mantra when he declared “the only skill that will be important in the 21st century is the skill of learning new skills. Everything else will become obsolete over time.”
No other generation in American history has faced such an accelerated pace of change, and this reality makes a Walker education invaluable. Our curriculum, from Early Learners to 12th Grade, is specifically designed to facilitate the growth of “curious young learners into critically thinking, individually expressive, confidently collaborative, and admirably honest young adults thoroughly prepared for the intellectual and relational challenges of college and life.” (Walker Promise Statement)
Inventors, creators and explorers all have several things in common – a spirit of inquiry, a willingness to take risks, the ability to persevere through failure and/or mistakes and the support of others. It is vitally important that educators and parents work together to create the conditions, at school and at home, that foster the development of these lifelong learning traits.
Last fall, Psychologist Rob Evans challenged our community to look at our challenge as parents and educators this way: “Rather than focus on preparing the path for the child, we should prepare the child for the path.” Doing so will ensure that our children embrace the challenges of tomorrow with confidence, knowing they possess the skills to adapt to an unforeseen tomorrow.