They’re just beginning school and they seem so little it’s difficult to imagine that elementary students already need help becoming future ready. But research suggests they’re at the perfect age to begin.
With a greater focus on elementary future readiness, the Consortium recently gave a webinar for members of the Pennsylvania School Counselors Association (PSCA) on why elementary future readiness is so important during their “Chew on This” monthly professional development.
Among the reasons for emphasizing future readiness early is that grades K-5 are a foundational stage of development for students—they’re wide open to imagining themselves in many roles, and the influence adults can have on them is greater than at any other age.
Just as elementary students can sometimes see themselves as superheroes, ballerinas, or astronauts, they’re equally ripe for considering whether being a doctor, a cook, or a chemist appeals to their sense of self. These are ages of high curiosity.
Encouraging self-exploration helps K-5 students begin to think about what they like and what they’re good at, and it helps them do so before biases—like gender and race—begin affecting what they see as their possible choices.
K-5 is the best time for educators to help students begin answering the question “Who am I?” It lays the foundation for the second and third questions the Consortium recommends in later grades: Who do I want to be? and, How do I get there?
Thinking about the future also benefits elementary students throughout their schooling. Research shows that it results in increased school attendance, higher academic satisfaction, greater self-awareness, and a sense of excitement about the future.