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3 Essential Skills to Teach Children to Future-proof Them (with Meg Faure)

 

Did you know 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't even been invented yet? 

(According to a report published by Dell Technologies) 

Exciting (but SCARY) thought, right?

Everywhere around us new opportunities and careers are popping up that didn’t exist a decade ago:

Block chain engineers, Youtube content creators, Mobile app developers, AI/ Big data analysts, Autonomous vehicle designers… the list goes on!

What will this list look like 10 years from now?

And how do we prepare children to succeed in the future in a world that is ever-changing?

Our co-founder Christelle Janse van Rensburg chatted to child development expert and author Meg Faure about the 3 essential skills we need to teach our children to future-proof them.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • The 3 must-have skills to teach children to future-proof them
  • Why it's important to teach these skills to kids from a young age
  • Practical tips on how to nurture these skills through crafting (Hint: it's easier than you think!)

Watch the talk or read the transcript below.

Grab the FREE Recycled Items and Kids Craft Supply Checklist and get 3 bonus Lesson Plans to practice STEAM skills with your kids.

Meg: Hi everyone, today I have a really special guest with me, Christelle. It is wonderful to have her.

As a parent we are always thinking of this hot topic of how to we future proof our children and how do we educate them for the future. It is something that is really close to our hearts, it's top of our minds.

The question that comes up for all of us is how do we prepare our children to succeed in the future. Six months ago we had no idea what the future could possibly look like and off course now we are in a very different landscape. 

So when I was chatting to Christelle a few weeks ago, we got on to chatting about future essential skills, because she is kind off in the same industry as me which she is going to share with us.

I found that there are some really awesome nuggets that she could share with us. But before we get into the meat I want to say hi to Christelle and welcome her. 

Christelle: Hi Meg. Thank you for having me, so excited to be here. 

Meg: Christelle, for those of you who don't know, is the co-founder of Canvas Club and the Creative Crafting Club, she's a kids crafting club owner, entrepreneur and a mom to a little boy who is almost turning two.

I met Christelle and her sister Stefanie, this incredibly dynamic duo at a coffee shop in Cape Town in the middle of next year. They shared with me this incredible crafting club that they had created.

Christelle, please tell us a little bit more about what you and your sister and business partner have been up to.

Christelle: Thanks for asking Meg. My sister Stefanie and I started a kids crafting business called Canvas Club a couple years ago and we rolled out branches across SA and Namibia. What happened then is that we started receiving hundreds (over a thousand) applications from women wanting to start kids crafting clubs. 

And as you know with Play Sense there is a big demand from moms wanting to start a creative and flexible business. If this pandemic has taught us anything it is to focus on what really matters, people are challenging the 9-5 mindset. We all want more time with our kids.

So the demand was overwhelming and we had to think creatively. We had to figure out how to scale the business to make our trainings and lesson plans accessible to women globally.

In March this year we launched our online membership, the Creative Crafting Club, and now we teach women all over the world how to start, grow and profit from their own creative crafting clubs.

It’s a lot of fun!

Meg: Thats amazing, very dynamic. So you take care of both the entrepreneur who is interested in starting her own kids crafting club but obviously top of mind is the creativity of the little one wanting to join the group. 

The preschooler is at a critical life stage, where development focuses on emotional and social development as well as the foundational skills for learning.

We believe in imaginary play and that is very close to the heart at Play Sense.

I also know that you are looking more at the creative side and the crafting side.

I am interested to understand how it is that critical life skills for future players can be developed through structured play. What part does crafting play in this?  

Christelle:  Crafting plays a very big role and I will get into the details just now.

Everywhere around us are new kinds of opportunities and careers that didn’t exist a decade ago. 

So how do you prepare kids for jobs that don't even exist yet? 

I  took the liberty to a few of our crafty kids this morning what they want to be when they grow up…

  • Gianluca, age 6 wants to be an inventor and make youtube videos
  • Larah, age 8 wants to be a fashion designer
  • Oliver, age 7 wants to work in artificial intelligence 
  • Phillip, age 3 wants to braai

It would be great to hear from the audience, let us know in the comments what your kids want to be when they grow up.

I remember wanting to be a princess at some point and then a doctor, but just because my dad is one. 

The point I am trying to make here is that kids today already think differently.

How can we provide kids learning experiences that will prepare them to become inventors, AI experts, designers and who knows what else?

That that brings me to the 1st essential skill to future-proof kids: STEAM skills.

S.T.E.A.M. is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths.

Now the type of crafts that we specialize in are not the normal stuff you think about when you think about arts & crafts.

That’s why we ended up renaming what we do from arts and crafts to Creative Crafting. 

We are passionate about taking the kids on a creative journey to discover, explore and teach them to problem solve.

Introducing STEAM to kids is vital to do from a very young age, cultivating hands-on, real-world, authentic problem solving, exploration and curiosity.

It all sounds pretty intimidating, right? Go save the world with STEAM! 

The good news is it's easy to teach STEAM skills to your kids. 

And crafting with your kids is a great way to teach STEAM skills.

STEAM learning happens naturally when kids craft as they get to explore, experiment, play, and try new things. 

The key component of STEAM is integration. So instead of teaching disciplines in independent silos there is a focus on interdisciplinary learning, which aligns with the way we work and problem solve in our daily lives. 

Think of my old career as an example, as an architect. Architects use science, math, art, engineering and technology to do their jobs. And all these subjects are woven together in practical ways allowing the architect to design complex buildings.

As an example, look at this cute puppet we made yesterday that incorporated STEAM skills and typically in a class we would encourage students to come up with their own characters, designs and puppet show. 

Grab the FREE Recycled Items and Kids Craft Supply Checklist and get 3 bonus Lesson Plans to practice STEAM skills with your kids

It all comes down to teaching kids to never stop asking questions (what can this sock be?) and to be curious about stuff.

Meg: It's interesting, when Lara Schoenfeld and I started Play Sense we sat down and brainstormed what was the core capacities that children needed for the future.

There was a few soft skills that we identified that we did not know where they fitted and one of them was curiosity and we ended putting them in a bucket along with creativity which was the bucket that we've called the super senses.

We think that those are going to be the soft skills that will actually supersede every other skill, curiosity for me..... I am going of on a a tangent here, I am completely on the curiosity page for you, for sure! I sat next to an amazing man at a dinner party and he said to me that;

The number one thing a human being needs in life is curiosity! And if you never lose your curiosity you've got an edge in everything that you do.

What I would love to know is how do you go about nurturing curiosity during a crafting activity? 

Christelle:  I am SO excited that you are this passionate about curiosity. 

Yes! So important! Curiosity is one of the key skills of STEAM

I’ve got 2 practical tips share with everyone watching today that are easy to help you nurture curiosity in your kids:

The most important thing is to inspire curiosity by asking questions.

This sounds easy, but it is often easier said than done as we so easily want to give answers as we as adults are always in a hurry and want to jump in and assist kids. 

Next time your kid struggles with a task, don’t take over and do it for them, help them to try and figure out what the solution is by guiding them with questions.

And then remember to celebrate the process (and celebrate the failures!): Learning from failure is how we innovate and grow. 

Another really practical tip is to learn to let go.

For adults, it may look like they are just making a mess, splashing paint around and unpacking and repacking and sometimes even bending things until they break, but this is how they learn - by investigating, discovering and trying new things.

Meg I also know you believe that kids should get dirty and mess and that is how they learn.

We had a play therapist on our page last week and she gave our audience a really fun challenge called Catch and Count.

This is an exercise of awareness. Do a 10min activity with your child, messy is best, test yourself and see how many times you want to step in and take over. Try it out and give us your number in the comments. 

Meg: Haha I would not be surprised, you just want to step in all the time.

Christelle: To recap: you can nurture curiosity by: Asking loads of questions and by learning to let go. 

Meg: You were talking about crafting earlier and if I think of art I immediately connect it with creativity and I guess that would be where you would be going next. Another essential skill you would look at is creativity.

Christelle: Think back, traditionally soft skills like creativity were reserved for artists and musicians. But holy biscuits have things changed!

Creativity has now become THE skill of the future and Elon Musk is paving the way.

How can you cultivate creativity in your kids? 

Now that is an easy one, through creative and imaginative play.

And the great thing is that play comes really naturally to kids.

That’s why i'm so passionate about crafting with kids - because the entire process is about creativity and play.

Here is where you can start thinking differently about arts and crafts as well - if you create functional crafts (you know, not just the type that you end up sticking on the fridge but crafts that can actually move and DO stuff) they turn into toys and that opens a whole new world of creativity and imagination and opportunity.

That’s why we love using recycled materials for all our crafts because it really encourages creativity.

It instills the mindset that you can create cool things from anything. Also, if you don’t have a specific material on hand for your craft, teaching kids to apply a 'what else can I use' mindset is awesome for creativity and problem solving.

You’ll see in the freebie, we’ve added a recycled checklist that you can stick on the fridge to start collecting the things that work best for crafting with kids.

Meg: It's really interesting.

Toys are purposeful and that is their failure. Toys are uni-dimensional, it can do X and it can do Y. What we talk about a huge amount are the things that are much more open-ended. Something like a block or an empty box. 

One thing that my business partner did as part of our crafting activities was to make sure that there are a lot of recycled items.

When you are making something into something that it was not purposefully built for, you suddenly unleash creativity. Which is one of the major skills of the future.

Christelle: My son and I used a shoebox to create a bug box and went to explore the world of bugs outside. I am so into bugs at the moment 😋

Meg:  The last thing that came up.

You are an Architect and your sister Stefanie is an Engineer, I am an Occupational Therapist. None of us are doing what we were trained to do but we are all used skills along the way to became entrepreneurs.

For most parents, when they think about their kids and the future, whatever their child decides to study is just the first step. 

The future of work and success really lies with entrepreneurs. Do you think, and I  know this is probably a bit of a stretch, but is it possible to develop something like entrepreneurship skills through crafting? 

Christelle: I am going to say absolutely, yes! 

Just before I get into that I want to take one step back, just about your point about Stefanie and your son. As you know Stefanie has a masters degree in engineering and as I know your son is in the same field.

What really fascinates me about the way engineers think is their ability to problem solve and that doesn't mean that they never fail, they fail enough times to get to the right answer. 

That’s why we are passionate about taking the kids on a creative journey to discover, explore and teach them to problem solve.

Problem solving is a massively important skill for entrepreneurship. 

Most people will probably think you can’t teach young kids business skills.

You cannot be more wrong! 

Kids can learn about money, failure, hard work, optimism and the importance of perseverance and giving back from a young age. 

Stefanie and I were exposed to entrepreneurship from a young age and I’m sure that influenced us to become entrepreneurs. Although our ventures started off VERY humble, to be exact our very first business was selling mud cakes next to the road. Haha

Encourage kids to pursue interests. No matter how weird and wonderful, and let them set up shop even if it is just for play and the family and neighbour are the only customers. 

Another great way to teach entrepreneurial skills to your kids is to lead by example.

We have quite a few members in the Creative Crafting Club that shared with us that they expose their kids to the different aspects of the business and some of them even include their kids in their club.

  • I think of Claudi - her son hosts her online craft classes with her
  • I think of Heleen - her 3 daughters run her club with her
  • I think of Melissa and Lydia - their kids practise crafts with them 

Through example they are learning their kids these amazing skills.

Meg, I am sure it is exactly the same for your Play Sense moms and for your own kids, as you are a great example of a working and entrepreneurial mom.

Meg: Absolutely, you are right. If I think back to my formative years, from the tiniest age I was creating businesses.

I remember running a very complicated hotel business out of my parents study, and baking cookies and we had dog shows. 

I think all of those entrepreneurial things that little kids do are so important.

It is one of the reasons why I always say to parents that boredom is really important for little ones.

When they are bored and not completely engaged in an activity, they can start to use those little entrepreneurial skills that they have been honing in a crafting club or honing in a classroom and put on a show or create something. It is in those moments that the magic comes through. 

I am completely on your page, we need to develop entrepreneurship in little ones and it starts through play when they are very very young.

It's been fabulous to chat with you. 

Remember to grab the freebie - in there you’ll get a recycling items checklist, a supply list and 3 STEAM based lesson plans to do with your kids.

Thank you so much for sharing with us today. I always love chatting to people who are on completely the same page. The way we think about child development and what little ones need is exactly aligned and I appreciate you coming online and just sharing your stuff with us.

Christelle: Thanks Meg.

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