“TEACHING VALUES, CHANGED MY LIFE!”
A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to participate in a spectacular forum organized by my son's school on 21st Century Education. I had no idea which type of education this 21st Century was, but I was quite curious about it and wasn't going to miss it.
The panel was composed of four amazing professionals ranging from a pediatrician to a pathologist all the way to an expert on child development. The perfect group of professionals for any parent raising kids.
I was the first one to ask a question and of course it was; "What is 21 Century Education?" The general definition of this type of learning is:
"The term "21st-century skills" is used to refer to certain core competencies such as collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving that advocates believe schools need to teach to help students thrive in today's world. Students demonstrate the three Rs, but also the three Cs: creativity, communication, and collaboration. They demonstrate talent as well as civic responsibility."
(source: EdWeek.com Published Online: October 11, 2010
Published in Print: October 12, 2010, as How, Do You Define 21st-Century Learning? )
The words collaboration, critical thinking & civic responsibility stood out from all this explanation.
"Civic Responsibility is defined as the "responsibility of a citizen" (Dictionary.com). Comprised of actions and attitudes associated with democratic governance and social participation. ... Citizenship means "a productive, responsible, caring and contributing member of society."
Raising kids is not only about taking tests, moving up a grade or getting into whatever school "you" have in mind, but it is about building decent human beings that will grow up to be outstanding adults in their community with a strong sense of responsibility towards their neighbors and the world in general. When we raise our children to be accountable for their communities, we build future positive active citizens of the world.
Recently, we have seen a trend of businesses focusing on civil responsibility and creating awareness towards their communities and world. One of those that have dedicated their efforts to teach from the early years is Cloud9World.
Cloud9World is a unique social and emotional learning program that integrates literacy as the vehicle for teaching character strengths. They execute their outstanding plan through a series of beautifully illustrated books used in both schools and homes.
Andrea Nachtigall is one of the founders of Cloud9World. A Biomedical Engineer and accessories designer that changed career directions for a higher purpose while teaching children through their unique product and transforming the world along the way.
When her second child was born, she decided to be a full-time mom for the early years of her kids. During those years, she noticed of lack of values in society and education for which the idea of Cloud9World developed. She wanted to offer parents and educators tools to teach values to children a fun and relatable way.
The origins came from the need to help parents teach values to children through t-shirts, but why not making it a full educational program? Throughout their research, they realized that most parents expected values to be taught in schools, not in the home.
Andrea came up with the idea of bringing the program to schools by providing a book to every child to take home and inform parents about these books and the purpose behind them.
"Our program is about the acquisition and strengthening of character, and the capacity to make wise choices for a well-rounded life and a thriving society. Teaching values changed my life!"
Through the connection with the personality and strength of animals, they were able to create stories that could relate to children. Their primary focus was addressing strong role models, compassion, obesity, kindness & tolerance to others. Also, the books work on building recognition of character strengths in self and others, empathy for others, self-efficacy in decision-making, positive collaboration and social interactions. They also create the power of critical thinking and reasoning, positive behaviors as part of embracing character strengths (who I am), & expression and application of character strengths at school, home, and in the community.
Since the implementation of the program in many of their public schools, they have seen an incredible change in the behavior of children in school and even at home making them realize that evolution is organic, pure and definitely, can happen.
Cloud9World is a revolutionizing the world of education by helping build character in every student, an important aspect of 21st Century learning. Students don’t just read it or hear it. They experience it. They explore, internalize, reflect and celebrate. Through the books and accessories, children can relate to the animals as they do naturally, finding true heroes to model and opportunities to take action. The immersion program reshapes their perceptions of themselves and others. Cloud9World is in a class by itself.
Today they are in numerous countries and travel to offer conferences in schools and forums. They are letting the world know that with a great example and fun stories, every child can be touched to become a better person and outstanding future adult.
Andrea is another influential woman demonstrating how intelligence can be put into action to develop powerful human beings for our changing world. A trend that we see growing every day as critical thinking, positive behavior & role models become a necessity for the future of humanity.