2023 will be a year of renovation. Our children need education that accommodates their social emotional needs and those of their working families. As educators and learners, we can thrive in structures that empower us. It’s time to reevaluate where we are as a society and how we got here. We need to be both optimistic and pragmatic. Opening minds, conversations, and spaces with the power of creativity.
Together we must:
Reflect and reinterpret what it means to be educators and learners.
Educators have witnessed the impact of technology, a global pandemic, and the trauma our students and colleagues have experienced that impacts their ability to function and feel successful. As a community, we must balance academics and social emotional needs of our pandemic learners and educators. Prioritizing what skills and strategies will help us self -regulate and effectively communicate when our normal is challenged. Designing an experience or a series of experiences aligned with our state’s standards that will empower the whole child at any age.
Engage participants by giving them the platform to express themselves creatively.
I propose using the power of art to open difficult conversations that provoke, heal, and unite.
“Artists are like first responders and respond to what’s happening in society and to serve as a mirror, and [artists] can imagine a new world,” said Leonie Bradbury, Henry and Lois Foster Chair of Contemporary Art Theory and Practice; and Distinguished Curator-in-Residence, Emerson Contemporary. “They can help find new ways to do things. It’s not just to go back to normal. How can we reimagine and emerge as a better society, a more caring society, and a more equitable society? Artists’ voices are important because they’re public voices. They’re presenting work to the world for a larger public discourse.” “You can deploy and initiate conversations about topics that may be difficult and support voices that are being suppressed by society,” said Bradbury. “You can give them a voice.”
Empower learners to dig deeper for the hidden themes in books, entice their self -expression through dance and evoke their emotions with music.
Design an experience that would teach kids and educators about the importance of social emotional health.
Our typical school day has changed and will continue to change. We need a community that values and supports the social emotional needs of its populations . Through programs such as the Zones of Regulation, Brain Gym, Think Kids and Responsive Classroom techniques kids and educators can be flexible, reflective problem solvers who view themselves as valued contributors whose voices and actions can strengthen their community. Once their feelings and thoughts are validated, they will be able to apply this growth mindset to various academic situations. We would target needs of a growing population ill equipped to process their experiences in healthy ways.
Support educators as we reinvent ourselves as entrepreneurs of educational possibilities.
I envision a team of remarkably diverse and innovative educators who through various experiences have worked with children who are struggling with trauma or are survivors of childhood trauma themselves. Collaboratively pooling resources and creating an experience that allows us to focus on the social emotional needs of learners that impacts their ability to be present for learning and teaching.
Acknowledge technology's digital side-effects that impact our learners.
We must educate students on the impact technology has as both a powerful resource and a potential health risk. Digital citizenship is becoming more intertwined with our communities which means children need to be supported as they transition between the two. Their perceptions and social interactions make them volatile consumer as they navigate through each reality. Give them the opportunity to use technology in healthier ways.
Identify opportunities for potential mutually beneficial partnerships with local departments and potential funders to reach a wider audience, to extend the learning experiences and relationships of our youth.