From the desk of Lower School Director Kelly Banik
In his recent book The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, Walter Isaacson, former editor of TIME magazine and CEO of CNN, highlights collaboration as key to any form of innovation. He notes that biographers sometimes distort history by making it seem like an individual goes into a garage, has a light bulb moment, and innovation happens. Instead, Isaacson describes innovation and creativity as team sports and contends that likely no one knows exactly who invented the transistor, the computer, the Internet, or the microchip because it was teams of people working on them.
Of course, simply being placed in a group of people to solve a problem, complete a project, or design the latest innovation does not ensure that the group will be successful. Being able to collaboratively work as a member of a team takes skill—specific skills, in fact. This year in Preschool, Prekindergarten, and Kindergarten, teachers have been explicitly teaching and reinforcing numerous core communication skills that support the effective functioning of teams. Through a multi-year curriculum that spans from preschool through kindergarten through fourth grade, students are learning essential communication and teamwork skills including listening for understanding, speaking clearly and with confidence, questioning with purpose, crafting a sound argument, backing up opinions with reasons and evidence, and disagreeing respectfully. More than ever, Preschool, Prekindergarten, and Kindergarten children need these core competencies to be innovators, self‐motivated thinkers, and successful navigators of our rapidly changing global community.
Kelly Banik has served as the Lower School Director at Moorestown Friends School since 2005 and oversees Preschool – Grade 4. In addition to her administrative work, Kelly has taught at the elementary, middle, undergraduate, and graduate levels. For over 20 years she has worked with educators on topics including curriculum design/mapping, instructional methods, classroom management, and professional growth. She has completed all coursework for a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, has an M.A. in Cognition and Instruction from the University of Delaware, and has a B.A. from Drew University. For more information, see her bio here.
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