The Power of Flexibility
Helping students develop flexible thinking skills and an open mindset has always been at the core of a Parker education. Children are now growing up in a world where coarsened public dialogues and hardened viewpoints are altering our civic life. The world the children will inherit will be complex and diverse, and a healthy democracy requires that citizens are able to have a more open exchange of opinions to arrive at compromises. We Parker educators spend a lot of time thinking about how we might wade into this and make a difference. Throughout the building, Parker teachers are consciously working to promote and teach about flexibility in the social, emotional, and academic zones. Here are some examples of our work:
The K-1s and 2-3s are undertaking a program called The Power of Flexibility with the help of Kate Howe, an Averill Park speech therapist. Piloted in the 2-3s for the last two years, we have expanded the program to the K-1s this year. Each class meets once a week with a lesson. The focus in the K-1s right now is on the idea of the group plan so every child is learning to be part of a group and understands the work involved in sharing a common goal. The 2-3 program launched with the concepts of being flexible vs. rigid, starting first with the properties of objects and then moving into flexible and rigid mindsets. We explore the effects–on the academic, social, and emotional fronts–of being flexible or rigid to help us navigate our lives at Parker and beyond.