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What does the future look like? What skills will children need to thrive? Guest blogger, Connie Toenjes, is thinking futuristically and is here to remind us that with a constantly changing world, we must think ahead. 

As parents and educators we ask ourselves, how do we best prepare our children to live, work, and be productive citizens in the 21st Century? We all agree that social media and technology have changed our world faster than any other time in history. Jobs your three-year-old will have in the year 2030 most likely do not even exist today! What content, principles, and skills taught in school and at home will be essential in the future?

Iowa Schools are doing their part to address these questions as well as Iowa Legislature, who has adopted the Iowa 21st Century Skills and Universal Constructs critical to student success.  These skills include civic literacy, employability skills, financial literacy, health literacy and technology literacy.

Students will learn about responsible use of financial resources in the form of needs versus wants as early as kindergarten! I am sure many of us could have benefited from lessons in credit and forms of insurance earlier in our lives.

21st Century Skills is intended to teach students to be productive employees as part of the school curriculum across all content areas. Skills such as working independently, collaborating as a team member, completing your task, being responsible for your own performance, are all skills necessary to being a successful employee.  They are also the skills of a person with good character.

Teaching our children to be trustworthy, responsible, respectful, fair, caring and good citizens aligns with the needs of the 21st Century and principles that the Iowa Business Council supports as desirable qualities in the workforce.  Could it also be said that the tenets of good character are necessary for the success of any society in any century?

The connections between the 21st Century Skills/ Universal Constructs and the Pillars of character are strong and plentiful.  Teaching your children to be a person of good character is preparing them for the 21st Century.

For specific examples of how the Six Pillars of Character are reflected in the 21st Century Skills, please check our resources section on the Character Counts In Iowa website.

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What skills will children need in the future?
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