CheetahCountrySurprise We believe children don't need adults to learn ...

CheetahCountrySurprise #6 We believe youth do not need adults to learn ...

-they need adults to create opportunities for learning. 

Tummy Time. If you know the term, you know that at some time when your child was a small infant, you were told as parents it is important. 

The purpose is to develop the muscles in the neck and throughout the trunk to hold your head up and to build core strength. Many of us complied and provided this muscle building time for our children. Some of us did not know about it. Some of us were never told and did it anyway. Apparently looking up and seeing the world, holding your head up high- that was a big deal.

When did that stop being important? 

Metaphorically, we were asked as parents to pause our busy filled days and provide a time for our children to look up! 

Ever watch a kid on Instagram or engaged on any device involving social media? They look like they have fallen down the rabbit hole in Wonderland. From an uneducated on-looker (like a seventy or older person) the child looks like a drug addict. They are completely absorbed yet their expressions on their faces change as they process visual images with text rapidly… swipe, swipe, swipe, scroll, scroll, scroll. Between each movement, a grimace, a chuckle aloud, a wince. They experience joy in a little box, with their head down.

In our learning community- we make room in the day for Tummy Time. 

No, your children are not laying on their stomachs and stretching their heads up and wriggling their legs in one place. But essentially, we make time for the skills related to “looking up”. I am sure you are familiar with them, but I bet you do not often see them in real life anymore in public places- like you did when you were a child.

Yes, back in the olden days, when we wanted to know where the restroom was in the grocery store, our mothers said, “ask the clerk”. I know this is a shocker to our children, but we actually had to go and find a live person and ask them to tell us where the bathroom was. Seems simple enough, right? Need to know directions to the library on a college campus, well ask someone, right? Easy enough. Can’t find the light bulbs at target, hmm, ask the person with the red vest, right? Easy enough.

Not for today's youth. These “looking up activities” do not exist anymore.

Let’s see what our children do in the latter examples above.

Need to know directions to the library on a college campus, well ask someone, right? No, according to a research study 32% of students lost on a college campus stop wherever they are, even in the middle of a sidewalk, blocking others, to look up a campus map, then open it and try to read it.  52% percent look for an online interactive map, or google it. No talking. More looking down!

Can’t find the light bulbs at target, hmm, ask the person with the red vest, right? No, according to a focus-study, 65% of shoppers ages 12 to 29 will walk around aimlessly looking for the light bulbs instead. 10% press the big red “need help button”, but they represent the age group older than 45. When shown the button and asked why they did not press it, the first age group stated they did not know the button existed and why would they press it because then they would have to speak to a real person. The remaining numbers use the Target app which tells you the exact aisle and location of the product you seek- never having to use speaking skills or people skills at all!

In our community, we prize “talking it out”. It is painful to watch two kids learn this skill. What seems so natural to some of us, is challenging to youth today. That is the power of sim squads! A 'Tummy Time' kind of pause from the regular coursework, three times a week where we work on really amazing topics one would be exposed to in the real world. Pitch to an investor, Interview a government official, create designs to be judged by a panel, work in the justice system- Engage in topics like Law, Engineering, Design, Art, Medicine, Business, etc and infuse it with all the hard people-skills needed to be a critical thinker, excellent communicator, and an engaged problem-solver that employers desire most. That’s right- the on-demand talking skills, problem-solving skills, negotiating, mediating, designing, planning, advocating, team-based kind of skills. They are hard, but we practice these skills so they become more automatic when the time to let our children run fast on their own arrives.

Next time you are with your student- see what practical life and communication opportunities you can provide- Remember- kids don’t need adults to learn- they need adults to create opportunities for learning!