George Lucas Educational Foundation

8 Wishes for My 3-Year Old About the Future of Education

8 Wishes for My 3-Year Old About the Future of Education

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Child on a swing

Dear Ryker,

Today you are a 3 year-old, fun-loving, energetic, and inquisitive child. In a few short years, you will start the epic and life-changing journey called formal education. This journey will consist of many joys, challenges, frustrations, and memories that you will take forward with you through the rest of your life. Remember though, education is not an end goal, it’s a beginning. Education opens up doors necessary to make an impact on the world you live in.

You may wonder what your educational journey will look like. Honestly, every person’s experience is different. I am hoping that my journey can be a guide for yours, but also that you are able to set your own path.

Right now I see an educational system that is evolving, and hopefully it is evolving to meet your needs, wants, desires, and passions. It is my wish that your educational journey will be successful beyond your wildest imagination.

So here are my wishes for you and all the wonderful educators you encounter along the way:

My wish is that your teachers invest in you as a person in order to make your learning personalized rather than standardized for everyone. You are an individual and unique. You are not a test score or student ID number.

My wish is that you are allowed to always embrace your creativity and that your teachers foster that natural curiosity within you. Curiosity is at the heart of all impactful learning. Curiosity is the foundation of innovation. Curiosity drives our world to improve.

My wish is that you harness the power of technology in profound and unimaginable ways. I don’t know what technology you will be using (because it hasn’t been invented yet), but hopefully you will be guided and directed in how to use it purposefully and effectively. Technology has the ability to connect everyone, everywhere, at anytime. Use it to your advantage.

My wish is that your teachers help you see the connections and relationships between school and the world around you. School should not be an anomaly from the outside world. It should be intertwined with real life applications to further your engagement and learning.

My wish is that play will be a part of your daily routine throughout your educational journey. Play may look different as you get older, but it allows you to experience joy, build self-confidence, release stress and tension, and let your imagination to flow limitlessly. Keep playing, it’s the greatest joy in life and keeps our mind fine-tuned for learning.

My wish is that you are allowed to explore the things you are passionate about, and that those interests be cultivated by the educators you encounter.  We were not all designed to enjoy the same things.  If we are only learning ideas and concepts that somebody, somewhere arbitrarily decided was appropriate for an age-level, then we are failing our students, including you, Ryker.

My wish is that you have amazing examples of educators and role models who aren’t afraid to try innovative and crazy teaching techniques to help you grow as a learner, to the point that they might fail in front of you. Failure is not a bad thing. In fact, you can’t do anything worth doing without at least failing once along the way. It’s not about the failure, it’s about how you respond to the failure that matters.

My wish is that your school looks and acts vastly different than schools of the past. School is no longer a place where a teacher has to disseminate knowledge from the front of the class, on only one subject, while students sit passively in rows in complete silence. Learning doesn’t always happen by sitting. It doesn’t always happen by listening. It doesn’t always happen by taking notes. The great thing about learning is that you can’t confine it and hold it down. Learning can happen anywhere and at anytime. I hope you get to build, make, create, code, and design, just as much as you read, write, and learn mathematical practices. Learning is diverse. It’s organic. And the love of learning is one of the greatest things an educator can instill upon you during your journey.

So Ryker, I am here to support you. You won’t ever have to do this alone. It’s going to be phenomenal to watch you on your journey. I’m so excited, I can’t wait.



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Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

This is just lovely. My kids are almost 12 and 14, but I remember those early years (and my wishes and hopes for their school years) so vividly. While I'm happy to say that, in some ways, they've had just the school experiences I'd hoped for, in others...not so much. But I think even when school has failed them, they've gained something from knowing that their dad and I have their backs- and that we're actively working to fix the things that aren't working. I think they're learning how to change the system by watching what we do, you know? Thanks for sharing this!

Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Design/Broadcast Media teacher

You have articulated so beautifully what I think most of us want for our students, too, njkraai! I am challenged by your hopes and also encouraged to know there are parents who value what I value in the classroom. Best wishes on your journey with Ryker and the many, many educators joining your family on the trip!

njkraai's picture

Thank you for the comment. It's great to hear that although school doesn't always look the way we anticipate for our children, there are lessons our children will get out of it that may be unexpected. Hopefully my son becomes part of the change, rather than part of the same.

njkraai's picture

Thanks for the comment. I think we as dual stakeholders (teachers and parents) can push and challenge each other to grow as educators and transform the learning we provide in the classroom.

Howard Ellison's picture
Howard Ellison
Now it's my turn to talk!

Having just joined the edutopia community, this beautiful message by njkraal absolutely sums up why I'm here, and why my wife and I were right to move mountains to ensure a valid and humane education for our own children, outside the UK's stone-cold state curriculum of the time.

Brett Rolfe's picture

A wonderfully eloquent and passionate letter - wishes that I am sure many of us share. I have been pleasantly surprised with the number of schools here in Australia starting to make positive changes - something I recently wrote about in an article for the Australian Financial Review ( ).

Brett Rolfe's picture

I've been pleasantly surprised in the number of Australian schools starting to make changes in the right direction, despite prevailing policy - something I recently wrote about...

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