Updated: Nov 15
We all worry about what's to come, but when it comes to education, we tend to focus on the past and the present, leaving aside the time ahead to innovate and make changes. As educators and school managers, it is crucial that we recognize the importance not only of preparing our students to face the changes of the world, but also of enabling them to lead these transformations, actively contributing to the construction of desired futures. It is within this context that Teach the Future brings a revolutionary and essential perspective for education in the 21st century: the introduction of Futures Teaching in Schools.
In this blog post, we will explore an inspiring case - Estilo de Aprender School, in São Paulo, Brazil - which, about a year and a half ago, integrated the subject of Futures in its curriculum, for students from 6 to 10 years old.
Estilo de Aprender School: vision aligned with the future
Estilo de Aprender School already stood out for its innovative educational approach, prioritising diversity, social and environmental issues. So it's no surprise that they decided to incorporate the future into their curriculum.
Marcelle Berton, founder of the school, explains: "In the same way that we work on the SDGs, climate emergency, identity issues, we understand that presenting the future to our children would be one more way of inserting them in the current context. Understanding that it is possible to influence the future and anticipate it brings security and hope. This was perhaps one of the main intentions. But we knew how much greater this work within the school would be!"
Preparing Students for Tomorrow, Teaching the Future Today
Children are endowed with a high imaginative capacity. However, the tendency is that, when they become adults, they experience social restrictions that discourage the spontaneity necessary for the vigor of the imagination. Therefore, it is essential that early childhood schools open spaces so that they can freely imagine new realities, as it is through this freedom that they can develop their critical thinking, problem-solving and innovation skills, preparing themselves to face the challenges of the future in a creative and confident way.
Aline Alegria, Futures teacher at Estilo de Aprender, shares what she observes in class: "What I have noticed so far is the child's infinite capacity to create, imagine and celebrate life, at the same time as the visions shared by children about what they imagine about the future, they are quite dystopian, not very diverse, highlighting an imaginary colonized by the culture of fear and which overvalues technology. One of my missions is to introduce children to new ways of relating to the future, revealing to them the power of imagination in building the future(s) they desire and how they can give meaning to the present."
Marcelle also highlights the fundamental role that the Futures discipline has been playing in children's lives: "Studying the future is giving the child the protagonism to act today. Perceiving today. Looking at the future as something creative and not predictable. The Futures classes deliver another paradigm of perception, which brings a displacement of thought: from "me to we", from a look at nature as something alive, in movement, the perception of the whole that does not part of the I".
“Another very important point is to prepare them to deal with the complexity, with the uncertainties in the world we live in, celebrating diversity as a solution and not as a problem. I believe that a fundamental language that helps in this sense is art, because it is through it that the unknown manifests itself more profoundly in children,” observes, Aline Alegria.
It is remarkable how the Futures course not only prepares children for an uncertain world, but also equips them with the skills and mindset needed to innovate and actively shape the future they want.
"The combination of all this has nurtured in children a re-enchantment for life, inspiring the creation (design) of new solutions for the challenges we face, not through the fear that imprisons but through the awareness that frees and expands the gaze. The activity of thinking and creating desirable futures in an active and diverse way has been surprising. It's a portal that opens." Aline Alegria
The experience of Escola Estilo de Aprendiz with the Futures discipline is more than an inspiring story; it is a living testament to how education can be transformed to meet the needs of 21st century students.
If you are a school administrator or educator and have been inspired by this educational journey, know that you are not alone. Teach the Future is here to support you and your school on this journey. We provide educator training, educational resources and expert guidance to help you incorporate Futures teaching into your curriculum. We are committed to empowering schools to prepare students for a future that is uncertain but full of possibilities.
Please reach out to us here. We look forward to to hearing from you!