FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT’S DESK
Your Child’s Future: Now is the Time For Exploring
Preparing children for success in the 21st century is a challenge, not only for educators, but for parents as well. With rapid advances in technology and an increase in highly specialized jobs, it is more important than perhaps ever before that students develop their interests and pursue prospects for the future while they are still in a position to explore a wide variety of options. These are some suggestions for a few simple guidelines you can follow to ensure that your son or daughter has the greatest opportunities to excel in college and career.
Expose younger children to a variety of different potential areas of interest. Take them to museums, art galleries and events, and watch to see what appeals to them. Talk to them about what they enjoy, and what careers they think they might be interested in. Read books and watch educational programs with them on a wide a range of topics.
When children show ability in any particular academic area, encourage them. Help them look for experiences that will develop their understanding and skills. If they are enthusiastic about a topic, help them to look for clubs and competitions in which they might participate.
If you think you have a child who may be interested in a national competition, such as the Intel Science Talent Search, encourage him or her to start getting involved with organizations that foster development in this area. Hospitals and other science organizations are great places to start. Help your older child find a mentor who can offer guidance now, while he or she is preparing for future competitions.
Preparing for any competition is a long process — not a one-year experience. Students will need to start laying groundwork, building relationships with mentors and looking for possible internships well ahead of entering a competition.
Having experience in art or dance, as well as athletics, can be an advantage to your child, not only for gaining entrance into competitions, but also when he or she is applying for colleges.
Parents can take an active role in helping their children develop strengths and experience the satisfaction of accomplishment by getting to know what interests them and what endeavors they are most likely to find appealing. It is also important to work with the child’s school to plan the supports and services that will lead to his or her success.
Yes, it is a challenge to help today’s young people prepare for their futures – especially when the world around us is undergoing constant change. We can, however, encourage them to discover their unique talents, provide opportunities for them to get involved in activities of interest, and support them by being available when they have questions or concerns. By doing these things, parents can give their children a tremendous edge on their individual paths to success. #
Dr. Carole Hankin is the superintendent of Syosset Schools in Long Island, N.Y.