Thursday, May 3, 2007

A Shift in Global Educational values

The NY Times Magazine recently published a fairly extensive piece examining China's education system, and the growing movement towards developing a more creative, flexible and individualistic workforce in this era of global markets. Towards this end, many of the private elementary and middle schools are attempting to develop curriculum that steers away from the traditional rote memorization exercises and introduces classroom projects and activities that may develop creativity and foster social emotional growth.

This trend is one that we've observed locally as well, as parents recognize the value of social development, opportunities for creativity, and chances for their children to engage in play based settings that aren't high stress/high pressure. These skills are all core to the programming philosophy at Jefunira, and were at the forefront during our recent re-examination of the camp's mission statement. Our final result,

"Jefunira Camp is committed to providing a premier summer camp experience by creating a safe and inclusive community where campers can develop self-esteem, self- confidence and have fun through inclusive, play based activity".
reflects our commitment to fostering the social skills and play based learning that is becoming harder and harder to find! If we can pass on some of the same kind of summer memories that we look back on so fondly from our youth, our mission will be well served.

We're also curious as to others thoughts on the matter- are the academic pressures placed on children around the globe in todays high-pressure society negatively impacting their development? Or are summer tutors and enrichment math classes necessary to achieve success? Is there a better way to balance out these dual needs?
These questions have been on our minds frequently, and we look forward to continuing to engage the community in dialogues that better help us create fun, enriching and memorable experiences for all children!

1 comment:

Pam Grossman said...

I find it ironic that even as China and Singapore look to the United States for ways to encourage more creativity in the classroom, the US is looking to Asia for math reform. Perhaps the educational grass is always greener on the other side of the Pacific! I'm increasingly struck by the fact that American parents are beginning to resemble their Asian counterparts in their endless quest for afterschool and summer enrichment classes, extra tutoring, or the perfect college counselor. Recently, my 11 year old daughter pointed out a corner building that housed both a Score! and Princeton Review business. The corner was not 3 blocks from where I grew up, at a time when we spent our afternoons riding bikes or going to the public library. Perhaps the message is that in education, as in life, balance is key.