We teach lifelong critical thinking skills
Establishing critical thinking skills at an earlier age gives children an extremely valuable tool as they work to become successful adults. This is another example of what we call purposeful education. Critical thinking means students are building on their existing knowledge to figure out a new piece of information. It gives them the ability to tap their own resources. Here’s how we try to give our students critical thinking skills.
We use play-based and collaborative learning approaches. This stimulates a child’s critical thinking. There are many different ways to teach 2+2. We try to figure out how the child wants to learn how to get 4. Play-based learning allows students to figure out a problem in a safe and fun environment. And when it involves a team working together to find a solution – it fosters critical thinking. Students draw knowledge not only from their teacher, but also from other students.
We are not teaching our children in a bubble. Learning does not only happen within the school grounds. We walk around our neighborhood. We explore our community. We encourage community service. We want our students to recognize they have not only the ability to contribute – they have a responsibility to contribute. We adopt charities and do work for them that can be done on campus. For example, we help out an episodic homeless program for mothers and children who have been displaced. We organize all the thank you cards that go out to donors. It’s a huge help for a non-profit already strapped for volunteers. And it’s a notch in the belt of critical thinking skills.
The whole idea behind purposeful education is to find the best way a child learns. That will be different for each student. We educate individuals – we don’t teach to a standard. So we want our students to figure out what they enjoy doing. Then we figure out how to educate them with that in mind. One way we do this is by holding “Genius Hour” every Friday. Students are given the opportunity to explore something that is interesting to them. Over time they develop a plan for how they’re going to pursue the subject. Then they’ll present their plan to the rest of the class or school. This puts the power of learning directly in our students’ hands.