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21st Century Skills for Parents (free course) with Potential Plus

We are proud to introduce a free parenting course which will be run once per week over four weeks by Potential Plus

The course will run from 6pm – 7.30pm on Wednesday 28th February, 7th March, 14th March, 21st March. 

We have 10 places which we will allocated first come-first served basis. Please email to RSVP.

21st Century Skills Short Course Outline

 Week 1 – What are 21st century skills? How do we prepare our children for an uncertain future?

This introductory session is a chance to foster a sense of community within the group. Participants share what has brought them along to the workshop; where they come from; how old their children are and their values. This is an important chance to create a familiar and welcoming atmosphere and indirectly, the group becomes a safe space in which to share experiences and ideas and to learn from each other and from the course leader. This also strengthens the community between parents at your school.


This session also introduces the aims of the course, which are:

1.   To understand the challenges and opportunities that we face in the 21st century.

A group discussion about the challenges and opportunities that we face today, framed as: what fears and hopes do you have for your children’s future. A discussion about the unique challenges of today and why we need innovative solutions for unpredictable problems. We are currently preparing students for jobs and technologies that don’t yet exist… in order to solve problems that we don’t know are problems yet. Our children will not only need to be problem-solvers – they need to be innovators!

2.   To understand what is meant by 21st century skills.

What kind of skills do we need in order to thrive today and in the future? It is not just the skills for work that we need to nurture, but the skills necessary to build strong citizens. Participants write down the most useful skill they have ever learnt on a post-it and then share with the group.

3.   To understand the unique role you have as a parent or carer in the education of your child.

“Preparing young people to thrive in a tricky world is not just the job of schools and teachers. Parents are educators too.” Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas, Educating Ruby.

4.   To appreciate the joy of learning and to learn how to model that joy to your children.

As a group, we realise as a result of our discussions that we are all lifelong learners!

5.   To feel more confident in your own abilities: to come up with ideas, to work with others, and to express your ideas.

          In order to nurture our children’s potential, our parents need to realise their own.

6.   To enjoy yourself!


A discussion will revolve around the following:

-       What are the unique challenges of the 21st century?

-       What are your hopes and fears for your children?

-       What is the most useful skill you have ever learnt?

-       Share what your child wants to be when they grow up and how you can support them.

-       An overview of the challenges of the 21st century and the key skills our children need in order to be successful, according to the latest educational research.

-       An introduction to creative thinking and self-reflection.


By the end of the first session, participants will understand the importance of parental modelling: we will have concluded that in order for our children to succeed in the 21st century, they must be lifelong learners but we cannot expect our children to be constantly learning if we are afraid to learn ourselves! The first session closes with a fun introduction to creative thinking, which the parents are then challenged to try with their children at home and compare their child(ren)’s answers with their own.


Week 2 – Creative Thinking: why now is the time to think creatively!

This workshop follows on from the end of the first workshop with another creative thinking challenge, which demonstrates just how hard it can be to think outside of the box as adults. This activity enables collaboration and even demonstrates how important resilience and perseverance are.

This session is not only about encouraging creativity, as most children are innately creative, rather, it is about nurturing creativity and valuing it. For example, we, as parents, can model creativity by coming up with creative responses to the tricky questions our children pose us e.g. Why do I have to go to school? It is surprisingly easy to resort to a tired response, which leads us, as adults, to develop and model a “because that’s the way it is” mentality, which stops us from questioning and coming up with new ideas. Instead  of saying, “because you have to!”, try reframing the question: “Why would you not want to go to school? What would you do if you didn’t go to school? Why do you think you have to go to school? What are the benefits and what would you miss if you didn’t go to school?”

1.   An introduction to creativity: what is it and why is it vital?

Creativity is essential for ideas, breakthroughs and innovations. In short, without creativity, there can be no progress!

2.   A discussion about why and how we lose our creative confidence as we grow up.

The importance of valuing our children’s passions and interests.

3.   A discussion about what education is for.

The aims of education are to enable students to understand the world around them and the talents within them so that they can become fulfilled individuals and active, compassionate citizens. In short, the most important thing, is for our children to know themselves.

4.   What we can do.

Take an interest in our children’s interests; value their individual passions and nurture them.

You, as a parent, are so lucky because you get to spend time with children and are exposed to their playful spirit, straight-talking and pure and simple ideas.

Have you noticed how open children are to ideas and how curious they can be?

5.   Your children can help you!

Next time you have a problem, talk to your child about it. Yes, their ideas might be simplistic, but there might just be an exciting and unusual way of seeing things hidden in their answer.

When we talk to children, we often have to simplify things. Sometimes, just explaining a problem is enough to solve it as all we need is to clarify the problem in our own minds!

6.   Why now is the time to be creative.

Following on from the ideas raised in the first session regarding the particular challenges of the 21st century, we will discuss what will happen if we’re not creative. Technology will have been one of the fears raised in the first session, and this is the point in the course that we reframe that fear as an opportunity.

7.   What is stopping us from thinking creatively?

Quite simply, it’s the fear of failure and the fear of looking silly.

8.   How we can work with our children and learn with them and from them:

This is where we flip the idea of parental modelling on its head. Not only do our children learn from us, but we can learn from them! Ultimately, learning is a relationship, a two-way exchange.

9.   How to be creative:

In this session, and in the student booklet, a range of activities, tips and tasks are covered, including group activities and ideas to take away and try at home.


Week 3 – Curiosity: How to encourage an inquisitive mind.

Curiosity, in its truest and simplest form, is taking an interest and engaging with others. To illustrate this, we open this workshop by asking everyone to share where they come from and what matters to them. “An essential part of the process of enabling students and piquing their curiosity is understanding where they come from and what is going on in their lives.” Ken Robinson. As parents and educators, we can model curiosity simply by taking an interest in our children’s interests, in asking questions or even just listening and asking them to tell us more! By taking an interest in each other, we are forming a connection, which is essential for learning. “The key to raising achievement is to recognise that teaching and learning is a relationship. Students need teachers who connect with them. And above all, they need teachers who believe in them.” Ken Robinson.

As we saw in the previous workshop, creative problem-solving is all about getting to the crux or core of an issue, it’s all about examining the essence of the problem: what is the real challenge, or what is the thing that is actually bothering us? For example, let’s take the title of this course,21st century skills

In order to be creative, we need to be curious! Questions like:

-       What if…?

-       I wonder…?

-       Is it possible…?

Curiosity is the ability to ask questions and explore how the world works. The activities in this session will explore this idea. For example: think about something you don’t understand, but would like to know more about. Write a question starting with Why...? or What…? This is a much harder task that it sounds because it challenges us to reframe what might be a criticism or a complaint, as an intent to know more.

Children are naturally curious and stimulating their learning means keeping their curiosity alive. This is why practical, enquiry-based learning can be so powerful. In place of offering answers to questions they haven’t asked, we, as parents, can provoke questions in our children so that they are inspired to explore them.

The key messages of this workshop are:

-       Being curious involves having an open mind.

-      Harnessing curiosity empowers children’s learning. Young children already have a ready appetite to explore whatever draws their interest. When their curiosity is engaged, they will learn for themselves, from each other, and from any source they can lay their hands on.

-       Curiosity is fundamental to problem-solving. Questions feed knowledge, but they also help us find solutions when we’re stuck.

-       Our job is to learn how to nurture and guide our children’s curiosity.

Week 4 – Joining the Dots

In this concluding workshop, we bring together everything we have learnt during the workshops and we incorporate any key concerns the group might have, be it strategies for positive parentingor how to harness the internet and gaming to support our children’s learning.

By this point in the course, participants will have a greater understanding of their unique role as parents in their children’s learning and will have gained confidence in supporting their children to learn and to pursue their interests at home and at school.

Earlier Event: 3 December
Come meet Santa.