A good education should prepare its students for those tasks and issues that they are most likely to face in their adult lives. We know that computer literacy has become an essential part of that preparation in the 21st century. We can probably also agree that these digital natives – a generation born in cyberspace – face some unique challenges. So I say it’s time to revamp their curricula. Let’s introduce some coursework that better suits their needs and fills a few gaps, shall we? I give you, dear reader, 10 internet classes that should be taught in grade school:
- Microsoft Word Training – If for no other reason than to develop clerical skills, this staple of office tools is a must-have for our future workforce. Something as ubiquitous as Microsoft Word – indeed the entire Office suite – should be required learning for our kids.
- Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University – You don’t have to look far nowadays to see the economic fallout that results from financial ignorance. It isn’t too early for grade school kids to receive a scaled-down primer on fiscal responsibility, and to learn how to handle (invest and save) money.
- Social Media Etiquette – Like it or not, Facebook, Twitter, online forums and chat rooms, and other social networking sites have become fixtures of 21st century social interaction, and we need to teach our kids how to use them. This particular course is geared toward college students, but a version aimed at adolescents who are already active on social media sites just makes sense.
- Poetry Classes – Poets are the conscience of society and the blacksmiths of language. What better way to enhance the minds and hearts of our future than exposure to an art form that can expand our children’s vocabularies and promote artistic and articulate self-expression?
- Cultural Diversity Training – There are numerous courses and webinars available to corporate clients who wish to educate their workforces in cultural diversity. I say it’s time to start this training earlier, and instill tolerance and respect in our youth before they graduate to adulthood.
- Fitness/Nutrition – With childhood obesity at epidemic proportions, it may be time to include some education on fitness and nutrition while Junior’s already sitting on his keister at the computer.
- Sex Education – This is a lightning rod issue for most parents, and there is anything but a consensus as to the proper timing and approach. Some even question whether the responsibility lies with schools rather than at home. The reality is that sex is already in our kids’ faces far sooner than it should be, via popular cultural and media. How they respond to the messages they’re getting has far-reaching consequences which can neither be left to chance nor for a later date to address.
- Internet Safety – As our children learn to interact, research and surf online, there is no more important prerequisite than an education in internet safety. This needs to be required learning for both grade-schoolers and parents.
- Environmental Awareness – A curriculum that makes it fun as well as informative to “think green” is long overdue for all of us. Let’s start with the generation who will inherit this planet.
- Conflict Resolution – The importance of learning how to settle disputes peacefully, as with this lesson plan, cannot be overstated. This should be part of every grade school’s curriculum.
The grade school years are when children begin to develop socially, and establish their sense of self. It seems disingenuous to delay the kind of education we’ve discussed here until afterward. Parents and teachers need to re-examine what children need – and when they need it – in order to best equip them for adulthood.