Tomorrow's Leaders Start with Today's Child Care and Early Education

Child Care & Early Education Leaders

A few weeks ago I got to hear a talk by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. The well-known columnist usually writes about politics and world events. But on this occasion, he was speaking instead about education.

Education has been on the minds of many lately, from parents to business leaders. And they're not only talking about school in relation to whether today's graduates are prepared for the workforce, but also as the key to ensuring we're developing today the leaders we'll need tomorrow.

We're living in a digital age that's changing so fast, said Mr. Friedman, it's hard to understand the implications. But one thing he felt sure about was that the 3Rs - reading, (w)riting, and (a)rithmetic - were no longer good enough as a singular educational focus.

Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity

According to Mr. Friedman, the complex world we live in today requires much more. Along with the good old 3 Rs, we have to know how to make good decisions, how to clearly let others know what we're thinking, how to work well with colleagues, and how to have a spark of originality. In other words, we need to focus on the 4 Cs: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.

What Mr. Friedman said made a lot of sense to me. The 4 Cs are invaluable skills. Because even in our world where technology rules, technical prowess will only get you so far. Look inside the ranks of any of the most successful companies and you'll see innovation powered by the ability to pivot, exchange ideas, work together, and problem solve. These skills are essential to innovation and progress today, and will remain so tomorrow, ten years from now, and far in the future...no matter where technology takes us.

The Role of Child Care and Early Education in Developing Tomorrow's Leaders

And it made me think about where those 4 Cs might begin. Mr. Friedman's emphasis was on education for older, school-age children. But experts are increasingly stressing the importance of developing these skills even earlier.

That means child care support for working parents isn't just a solution to a problem, but an opportunity. If we do our work correctly in Bright Horizons child care centers - teaching children to be more cooperative by encouraging toddlers to share that first well-loved toy; giving preschoolers independence and freedom to make good choices about behavior - we're building in those 4 Cs from the minute children enter our care. Creativity for children of all ages can be encouraged not just through hypothesizing about the outcomes of science experiments, but also through dramatic play, problem solving and more.

Of course the 3 Rs remain essential, and our World at Their Fingertips curriculum is designed to support these important skills.

But through observing and listening we can seize the opportunities daily to infuse the 4 Cs in the work we do as well. Our teachers might help a child use words (or sounds) to reach a desired goal; help them build a project that necessitates collaboration; ensure that children in their care have the opportunity to make decisions and exercise creativity.

With all that, it's clear that within each of our child care and early education centers, we have the tools to empower 21st century (and lifelong) learners.

Learn more about how Bright Horizons' child care & preschool's The World at Their Fingertips®curriculum creates developmentally appropriate learning opportunities that empower children to be confident, successful, lifelong learners.

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

About the Author

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The Bright Horizons Blog Editor frequently posts on the real solutions that meaningfully support employees, advance careers, and drive the world’s leading brands. The Editor curates the latest news, trends, and challenges facing HR pros because your time is scarce. Follow the Bright Horizons Blog to receive this insight in your inbox.