What is each child capable of and how can we find out?
This is a fundamental question that we should be addressing in our families and schools. At Ascend Micro School, we believe that children have the ability to see unique solutions to challenging problems and have the intensity and drive to do something about it – even at a young age.
How often do we tell kids, “That’s a great idea!” and really mean it, but for whatever reason neglect to follow through with the great idea? There are many missed opportunities to empower our children who so strongly desire to take action.
What if we challenged our children to find problems and develop solutions – in our schools, neighborhoods, cities, countries, and world? We often hear of children who accomplish great tasks to improve communities in some capacity and are in awe of their creativity, initiative, determination, and compassion. Yes, those are inspiring stories, but what if every child was given the opportunity to passionately pursue a goal that betters their school or community?
What if every child was able to “learn on the job” with the job being impactful work that incorporates critical thinking, innovation, empathy, and, inevitably, academic skill development? They would discover real-life applications for the academics they learn along the way, adding tremendous value to their education.
I personally have trouble imagining that empowering children can turn out negatively. We talk about their potential and advocate for their academic needs, but often forget that kids need to feel industrious and valued in order to be intrinsically motivated. In short, kids need to know that what they do matters. We all can remember our own childhoods and the frustration we felt that we were just kids who couldn’t do “it” yet. But there are so many ways to empower children, and we as adults and educators should be looking for ways to do so. We can and should place our confidence in their abilities because each child deserves to know they can do “it”…now.