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Integral Education: Strategic Challenges & Road-Map ahead (XII). Strategic Innovation in Education – Reflection on the importance of integral education at kindergarten (Part H).

Before the beginning of the weekend, today´s post is a reflection on the importance of integral education at kindergarten.

Steve-Jobs-on-Creativity.jpgLet´s connect the dots. Why are we going through early childhood education, K-12 and Universities when we write about Integral Education? It is simple. We are reviewing our existing education system with the capacity to do strategic innovation when it comes to businesses, projects, and endeavors.

As you may remember, we sailed the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-2018 with the purpose to share knowledge about existing strategy frameworks. Why?  Meanwhile, the teams MAPFRE, Dongfeng, Brunel, Akzo-Nobel, Turn the tide on Plastics, SHK Scallywag and Vestas 11th were sailing the seven seas, I was next to them writing and posting about strategy.  Meanwhile, all the sailors were worried about how to navigate successfully to arrive safely to each port, I was committed to finishing each leg with one topic of strategy. Let´s remember what we covered:

VOR Final Outline done

When we were in Newport, Connecticut. We wrote about the theme: Strategic Innovation Paradigm. If you wish to recall the material click here:  When In Newport: Strategic Innovation Paradigm.

My own proposal at that time for Strategic Innovation Paradigm for Industry 4.0 was to utilize Markides and Zook frameworks and add 4 new vectors. Look at the presentation below:

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When doing strategic innovation we must start to add these 4 elements of growth, particularly in the context of Industry 4.0. Why? Because these new 4 vectors will keep us on an integral check when creating prototypes and testing our businesses. I believe these 4 elements have been missed for several decades, and we can´t go continue with Industry 4.0 if we don´t include them in our mental models when doing strategic innovation.

  1. It has to include a new model for Talent Development (education)– Since we are kids, and in our professional lives.
  2. It has to include a purpose – Why?
  3. It has to include ethical awe – Is it a force for noble human good? Does it cause awe for humanity?
  4. It has to include a generational impact (Legacy) – Is it going to improve the life of the next 4 generations? In every aspect: quality of life, environmental, social, financial, spiritual, etc.

Now that we have refreshed the strategic innovation paradigm. Let´s land into the linkage between strategic innovation paradigm and kindergarten education.

connecting kids natural way.jpgIn kindergarten, children stop to play for learning. Everything they were doing during the two previous years of pre-school changes. In addition, they are forced to get serious and to stop exploring nature. Fair enough. They are big kids!. However, since kids are forced to move into a funnel of structured processes to learn differently in comparison to pre-school, I believe the exploration and curiosity development is diminished in kindergarten. As it is right now, the whole purpose of kindergarten is to help them to be successful in primary and then high school.

Sean Reardon is a professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. He is a member of the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford.  He has researched that “average reading and math scores of incoming kindergartners from high-income backgrounds are higher than those of children from low-income families”. Based on his affirmation and other researchers projects, they have urged a strong emphasis on language, literacy, and reading during kindergarten as a key component for reducing inequality of opportunity. And the advantages of learning language and numeracy are vast. Nevertheless, my main question here is to reflect on how to mix this structured learning with the playful time from pre-school?. Children are natural explorers. And exploration, curiosity, and enthusiasm are pillars for strategic innovation. I wish to assume that education specialists are also starting to do research and debating about how to keep children exploration and playtime discovery with the structured engine designed for K-12.  How to mix both? The structure for learning literacy, math, languages and reading; and the innovation playful time experiences during the previous pre-school years. As Reardon states: “We need to meet all young children where they are, help them build on their inherent curiosity and enthusiasm, and create opportunities for authentic learning”.

nature explorers.jpgI think educators can´t guarantee that all children will be strategic innovators in the future, but at least I am sure they also know of the importance of not killing innovation.  In addition, educators know how important is to connect kids to nature. Let´s not kill their exploration sense and discovery from those ages. Sciences are beautiful subjects to learn with the “children exploration” mindset. Math can be taught in ways which help them to continue discovering, only if we link the math calculations with an idea of an abstraction for ethical awe, for example. I.e. we can teach 2 x 10 equals 20. That´s it. But if we link the calculation with a sense of awe, let´s see: 2 educators teaching to 10 students to read is equal to 20 new children who will be able to read books. Can you see the difference? Another example: educators can teach different arts to kids (painting for example). What about helping them to connect their artistic creations with the origination of new ideas for problem-solving?

connect the dots.pngMoreover, educators need to connect with nature first, in order to teach with an integral strategic innovation mindset. Any lesson from any kindergarten syllabus and related courses can be linked to a concept of purpose, ethical awe, legacy and education for all life. How to connect simple kindergarten knowledge to a concept of greater good?. Once a child connects the dots between nature, math calculations, literacy or reading and the vectors shown in the strategic innovation frameworks, they are able to learn beyond the simple memorization.

Let me finish with this: Strategic innovation is linked to simple questions. When children ask questions, they are doing strategic innovation. Let´s help them to keep asking questions, and finding the answers in nature. Nature triggers the right answers. In addition, the concept of exploration has several contexts. Some of them are also relevant to keep in our education frameworks.  Parents and educators are here to help kids to develop their brains in the nature that God gave us. I have seen many parents which shut down kids curiosity, by imposing not to ask questions to kids, or when the kids start to ask questions, parents give them a mobile or smartphone, instead of taking them to the park. It is not fair to kill their creativity at this age.

On my next post, we will see primary and high school.

Thank you.


Source References utilized for this article:

Disclaimer: All the presentation slides shown on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante MBA-MEng. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine.  I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.


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