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The following article is a guest piece by the Co-Director and Psychologist, Janet, at CETAP-Lucy, which explains the thought and evolution behind the center’s new STEP Program (Strategic Thinking and Evaluation Process), which opens the learning space for kids to think creatively and analytically in order to make more sound decisions in their lives. Want to contribute to the program as a child sponsor? Click here to give!
Today’s society is facing rapid changes in our knowledge of human development. There is an urgent need to improve our way of thinking so that we may support the next generation to develop modes of positive thinking at a young age. Furthermore, we must support the culture of ongoing education that promotes lifelong learning and the new hypothesis “live to learn.” It is critical that schools incorporate lessons on analytical and creative thinking. The development of critical thinking from a young age must be a priority so that children learn to think creatively and constructively, thus contributing to society in new, efficient ways.
Human beings are thinkers in their very nature, constantly using the power of thought for reasoning, reflection, and creation. Each human thinks uniquely, but how we are able to open those thinking opportunities and examine them is not often undertaken.
“All that I need to know I learned in Kindergarten.” – Robert Fulghum
Levine, a psychologist and leading author in the field, encourages that all children should learn to evaluate and analyze statements made by others, and even more be able to evaluate themselves from time to time. For Levine, individuals are not born with a natural skill in sharp critical thinking. Rather, it is necessary for parents, teachers, and mentors to train children to think critically. “People who do not think in a critical way accept too many things. They are often more concrete and may have difficulty looking beyond the surface to analyze and evaluate what is not seen at first sight” (Levine, 239).
For this reason, it is so important that teachers encourage the autonomy of each student by including “thinking” lessons in the curriculum and promoting a culture of free thinking in the classroom. Learning spaces must open up opportunities where students can think maturely, solve problems, work alone or in groups, and make an active choice to value and respect theirs and their colleagues’ ideas. If these habits are developed while in school, a child is much more likely to grow up and be able to face challenges that come before them in life.
Our education system must seek immediate changes in order to promote the integral development of the human being – including our children at CETAP-Lucy. Around the world, various cultures work to have citizens that are creative, autonomous, critical, and that show initiative. We must move past the habits of education that memorizes and repeats information, and move towards a teaching style that values important thinking skills that will serve a student for the rest of their life.
It is from this perspective that CETAP-Lucy is focusing on the process of learning – starting from the birth of a thought to critical thinking, analysis, and the development of ideas. It is in this philosophy that CETAP-Lucy is excited to grow the STEP Program (Strategic Thinking and Evaluation Process), which will bring the children together every Friday to work on critical thinking, creative thinking, and analysis skills.
Each of the 38 children in the program will be seeking a sponsor that can make a monthly commitment of $15 per month. This sponsorship will provide 15 hours of the STEP Program per month. Giving kids permission to think before acting will help them make better choices and rely less on social services and become financially sustainable adults who give back to their communities and others in need. Make a Commitment to Today’s Youth and Become a Child Sponsor Today: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/cetap/