On Wednesday, May 4th, Sanders-Clyde students demonstrated newly-learned 21st Century Skills during their Expanded Learning Time (ELT) “Show What You Know” year-end showcase. A room full of parents watched as their children performed and articulated how their participation in the ELT afterschool program this past semester helped them grow their collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
21st Century skills (collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving) are abilities students need to develop to be able to succeed in the information age. In tough, under-resourced communities like the CPN Neighborhood, students come to school with many challenges. Traditionally, Neighborhood residents have had limited access to quality education, housing , transportation, and employment options, thus they need skills-building tools to problem-solve, advance their own educational outcomes, advocate for themselves, and navigate complex community systems and resources, which will ultimately lead to their being workforce- and career-ready.
That is why CPN provides daily exposure to these necessary 21st Century skills to approximately 400 Kindergarten -5th grade students, through our Expanded Learning Time (ELT) afterschool programs at Chicora, Mary Ford and Sanders-Clyde schools. During the afterschool hours these students participate in 1) small group academic and homework assistance with a certified teacher, 2) extracurricular enrichment activities led by quality enrichment providers, and 3) a hot daily dinner. CPN requires our enrichment providers to infuse 21st Century Skills into their curriculum, as they lead students through project-based learning activities during the extracurricular enrichment block of the afterschool program.
For example, students who participated in the Corpus Callosum enrichment block learned entrepreneurship concepts, as they worked in teams to develop and name a company, manufacture a product, create marketing supports, and sell their product.
Students worked together to develop and test their product, and used survey data to make decisions for improving their product. They used their skills and knowledge to create a marketing plan, and ultimately launched their small business: hand-crafted toys. These students collaborated on the entire project (from inception through to how to spend their profits), creativity (designing and marketing their toys), critical thinking (building the toys), and problem solving (what worked/did not in each phase of the process).
The May 4th student showcase was appropriately titled “Blossoming into your Purpose.” As each student continues to develop and perfect these essential skills, they are deepening the roots from which their futures will bloom. From boat-building with Lowcountry Maritime Society, to hands-on activities where students demonstrate their understanding of engineering concepts with Engineering for Kids, students enrolled in our ELT afterschool program are expanding their knowledge and mastery of skills that will ensure their success in school…and life! A special thanks to Sanders-Clyde ELT Site Coordinator Danielle Daniels, whose leadership made this year’s afterschool program a success. Thanks also to South Carolina Humanities for their financial support of this program.