Skills and Values Beyond the Playground

by Mike Millard — Magellan Parent, Capital Factory Mentor and Founder of Pitch-A-Kid

What skills do we need to teach now to make kids successful twenty years from now? What values do you want to instill in children from an early age that allows them to prosper long beyond the playground? How do design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship complement a traditional STEM curriculum? These are the questions I wrestled with my wife Marian seven years ago when looking for a school for our daughter Audrey. We wanted her to have a solid foundation of critical thinking skills, problem-solving tenacity, along with wonder, play, teamwork, and social interaction. We know the world is changing faster than ever and incorporating these timeless education skills will allow her to adapt to tackle the problems of her generation head on.

Enter Magellan International. We were drawn initially to the global perspective, its strong STEM focus, and its emphasis on languages (Spanish and Mandarin). We liked the International Baccalaureate (IB) profile approach and the entrepreneurial nature of the school. It was year three for the school, and many of the kinks were just starting to be worked out. But we enjoyed in real time as it unfolded before our eyes — the twists and turns of how the school problem-solved and used critical thinking to make itself better. We noticed early on the school values were not just words on a wall, but rather words each school member lived every day. The school was exhibiting the very values it wanted to instill in our children. We witnessed open-minded, principled, balanced, and caring behaviors on a regular basis from the Board, teachers, and staff. It used data to analyze problems and then communicated its findings with action recommendations on a regular basis. It was refreshing and exciting at the same time.

Magellan has been a fantastic choice for our daughter and us. We have watched Audrey grow from a boisterous young child to a blossoming middle school aged kid full of wonder, confidence, empathy, and respect. Her intellectual curiosity is nearly insatiable from someone so few in years. She is comfortable in her skin and has the willingness to take risks and try new endeavors. She continuously inquires about the world and frequently understands a problem from all angles before drawing her conclusion. That is pretty amazing for someone in the fourth grade!

Can you incorporate design thinking, and entrepreneurship alongside a strong STEM curriculum? At Magellan, the answer is yes.

Design thinking means understanding the customer experience with empathy and addressing problems from a system level viewpoint. This thinking is where you use a systematic approach to inquire, imagine, and develop a solid plan — to build something new or improve on an existing idea. Magellan is preparing children to problem-solve and use critical thinking skills all interwoven with a multilingual experience with a phenomenal student to teacher ratio. It is laying the groundwork for our children to adapt to change and teaching them how to innovate while applying what they are are learning in STEM. Entrepreneurial skills are critical and essential for success, and Magellan is creating the future leaders of tomorrow, today. And it demonstrated its commitment to the future by building the Frances/Lo Design and Innovation Lab where kids build, experiment, validate, test, and create to change the world for the better. What an excellent comprehensive approach to learning!

These are the timeless skills and values that will make our kids successful twenty years from now regardless of their chosen field of endeavor. No matter what the economy is doing. No matter how many robots are in our lives. No matter what.

The old saying it takes a village to raise a child is true. And I know the community at Magellan doing its part in spades.


Originally published at Magellan International School.

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