Our world is changing at a rapid and dramatic pace. Every decade brings technological advances and unforeseen social change. So how can we prepare our children for a world we can't envision? The best way to do that is to educate our children to develop three essential capacities: a capacity for vibrant and vigorous activity, a capacity for a sensitive and yet resilient emotional life, and a capacity for clear, focused, original, thinking. In order to develop these three capacities, we must educate our children in a multidimensional way in school. The place to begin is through self-directed play with the young child. Play is the wonderfully creative work of early childhood. When young children play, they are focused, attentive, and completely involved in what they are doing. This is a characteristic of genius and innovative individuals often keep this playful nature intact throughout their lives. The second way to educate children for the future is through art. In the grade school it is possible to teach all of the academic subjects in a manner that integrates art. In doing so we create an educational program that addresses a child's need to be engaged imaginatively and emotionally in each lesson. When we teach children through a foundation of active play and a solid framework of artistic experiences, we help them develop the third essential ability, a capacity for dynamic, curious, and original thinking, a thinking that enables our children to ask the questions that are still waiting to be asked.
Jack Petrash is the founder and director of the Nova Institute. He is an educator with over thirty years of classroom experience and has written extensively on issues pertaining to innovative classroom instruction.
Beautiful heartfelt talk.