Elementary school once focused on the three basic areas of study – the classic reading, writing, and arithmetic. These days, though, as the real world puts more focus on science, the arts, and the skills involved in thinking critically, the need to improve elementary school students’ exposure to these subjects and skills grows. Below are five elementary school teaching and learning trends in 2019 that are designed to prepare children for success in adulthood.
#1 – More Challenging Curriculum
Any teacher will attest that finding the right balance in terms of challenging curriculum is difficult, especially when there are as many as 30 children in a classroom – each one with different capabilities. Nonetheless, in 2019, more schools and teachers are working to truly challenge students academically. Those that have incorporated challenging academics have seen an increase in reading level and math proficiency, and some schools have even greatly reduced class sizes in order to ensure that children receive the individualized attention they need when learning more challenging concepts. These challenges may include everything from above-grade-level math problems to challenging reading assignments.
#2 – Critical and Creative Thinking
Studies have shown that elementary-aged children can work together and use critical thinking to solve problems. Unfortunately, until very recently, critical and creative thinking was not a primary focus in elementary school. In 2019, as many educators have discovered the importance of teaching these skills early on, thus giving students the ability to hone them throughout their middle school and high school years, projects designed to stimulate kids’ creativity and help them think critically will rise.
#3 – Developing Kids’ Imagination and Curiosity
Over the last several years, it has become clearer that encouraging children to be curious and use their imaginations will improve their interest and their engagement, thereby driving their desire to learn more. Teachers in 2019 will not only allow students to be more curious, but they will encourage it – even at the elementary school level – by asking open-ended questions and allowing students to work together to come up with possible solutions to problems. Such curiosity and creativity ultimately lead to the innovation we see in the world around us.
#4 – Clear Self-Expression
A child’s ability to express himself or herself clearly is vital to his or her success as an adult. The earlier a child learns these skills, the better off he or she will be in the future. In 2019, teachers will put more focus on helping students learn to identify both spoken and body language. In turn, children will gain more control their own spoken and body language. Not only does this reduce frustration for small children who may otherwise have difficulty expressing their wants or needs, but it also helps them grow socially – something that becomes increasingly important throughout the rest of their academic and adult lives.
#5 – Access to More Complementary Programs
Back in 2016, the US Department of Education posted a blog that clearly detailed the importance of consistent, well-rounded curriculum presented to children of all ages. When you think of academia and success, you likely think of the aforementioned reading, writing, and arithmetic. If you are up-to-date with today’s trends, you might even think of the STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Though all of these are important, this blog post proves that art, physical education, music, and other “enrichment” opportunities that fall outside of typical academia are just as important to students’ overall success. For this reason, we will see many more options in terms of complementary programs in 2019.
Teaching and learning trends have certainly changed since the turn of the century – and even since the turn of the millennium. Though reading and math are still as important as they always were, in 2019, teaching and learning trends will incorporate critical thinking, enrichment in the arts, the development of curiosity, and even teaching kids how to express themselves clearly.