One of my favorite places to visit at Roycemore is our early childhood wing. There, our Pre-Kindergarten, Junior Kindergarten, and Kindergarten students are developing foundational skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. They are recognizing connections between cause and effect, they are gaining an appreciation for music and art, they are learning to communicate in a variety of ways with their peers and with adults, and they are learning about themselves as learners. Our current Pre-Kindergarten class will graduate from high school, presuming the current K-12 model remains, in the year 2033. That feels like a long way off, but remember when 2020 felt that way to most of us? In 2006, our current junior class–the class of 2020–was in Pre-K. Could we have imagined in 2006 how the iphone would fundamentally change nearly every aspect of our lives? The iphone wasn’t even announced by Steve Jobs until January 2007 and released in June that year.
Technological advancements are progressing so rapidly, it is hard to imagine what our current Pre-K students will be experiencing by the time they graduate. According to Quantumrun Forecasting, some of the following are predicted for our Pre-K students for their graduation year:
- Injectable brain implants will allow scientists to alter neurons to treat disorders and brain damage
- Humans will be able to telepathically communicate with the help of computers
- Not only will we have driverless cars, but also planes and trains
- Health care will advance to constant and predictive diagnosis allowing doctors to develop a “healthcare roadmap” for patients
- Wearable technology will replace smartphones
- Touchscreens and smart surfaces will be everywhere- from the tables at Starbucks to your own home desk
These are just a few of the predictions for the future- just FOURTEEN years from now. The technology to make these advances possible already exists, it will just be further perfected in the years ahead.
With this in mind, what skills will our current Pre-K students need when they are 18 or 19 and head on to whatever is next for them? According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, the top ten skills in demand in 2022 (just three years from now) will be:
- Analytical thinking and innovation
- Active learning and learning strategies
- Creativity, originality, and initiative
- Technology design and programming
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Complex problem-solving
- Leadership and social influence
- Emotional intelligence
- Reasoning, problem solving and ideation
- Systems analysis and evaluation
Some of the skills that will be declining in demand include memorization, manual dexterity, management of financial resources, quality control and– shock– reading, writing, math and active listening. This is not to say these skills will not be needed, just that some of the other skills will be in greater demand in the new economy. Don’t worry, we’re not going to stop teaching reading, writing, and math at Roycemore, as we believe these foundational skills are still important. We will be focusing more on the application of these skills for complex problem solving, divergent thinking and analysis.
We have a strong emphasis on teaching leadership skills at Roycemore and these include how to lead from the front, but more importantly how to communicate effectively and build teams to work together. One of America’s strengths has been in the area of innovation. Innovation is often borne out of challenge. When we can creatively solve problems, we innovate. It will be our priority to ensure that our students have the foundational skills to do this so that they can be the ones that are at the front lines of innovation and leadership in the coming decades. Preparing our PreK students for success in a dynamic and complex world is, indeed, part of our mission statement at Roycemore. I, for one, am excited about the impact this group of young people will be making as they advance in their careers, when I will be nearing the end of mine.