A new framework to help integrate 21st century skills in programs for children

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The P21 ELF covers three core 21st century skills: Learning and innovation skills (the 4cs), life and career skills, and Information, media, and technology skills.

The Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) has released a new framework for educators to integrate 21st century skills into learning programs and experiences for young learners.

P21 is a nonprofit organization that advocates for a wide implementation of 21st century skills in curriculums. The 21st Century Skills Early Learning Framework (P21 ELF) was developed to encourage educators, administrators, and policy makers to include early learning in their implementation of 21st century skills in their programs.

“The 21st Century Skills Early Learning Framework supports not only emerging skills in reading, math, science, and social studies, but also incorporates the critically important 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity, technology literacy, and socio-emotional development for children under 5.”

The P21 ELF covers three core 21st century skills: Learning and innovation skills (the 4cs), life and career skills, and Information, media, and technology skills. We will look at each zone and its sections.

Learning and innovation skills

  • Creativity and innovation. Children are capable of expressing their creative thoughts and feelings through many activities, including painting, writing, drawing, sculpture, drama, dance, movement, and scientific exploration.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving. Problem Solving occurs when a child uses trial and error to solve a problem until a successful solution is found.
  • Communication. Listening, speaking, storytelling, and sharing thoughts and ideas are all communication skills. Strong early communication skills are directly related to later literacy success.
  • Collaboration. Young children are motivated by acceptance and they learn to respect others, make compromises, and appreciate each other’s perspective and skills when engaged in collaborative activities.

Life and career skills

  • Flexibility and adaptability. Flexibility and adaptability skills are the ability to handle transitions, meet new children, shift strategies, and adapt to a new environment.
  • Initiative and self-direction. When children are interested and engaged they are more likely to self-direct, focus, demonstrate persistence, and complete a task.
  • Social and cross-cultural skills. These skills are essential to a child’s success, critical to a child’s sense of belonging and connections to others, and directly tied to communication, collaboration, and adaptability.
  • Productivity and accountability. Learning to follow directions and rules in a game is a part of learning to be accountable. Children also demonstrate being productive and accountable as they play with greater independence and decreased adult guidance.
  • Leadership and responsibility. These are exhibited in how a child asks for assistance, includes other children in a game, or cleans up after playing.

Information, media, and technology skills

  • Information and media literacy. Children demonstrate information literacy in early childhood by articulating the difference between real and make-believe, as well as by using familiar practices to learn new skills or gather information.

Go to this website to read the full document.