New Parents Guide to 21st Century Learning and Citizenship

It’s no secret that parent involvement is a key contributing factor of student success. That’s why P21 is excited to include parents in the conversation regarding what’s different about learning today and why these changes have a significant impact on the skills, jobs and opportunities today’s students need to be successful. Much of P21’s work (see our Resource Page) has been focused on supporting educators and policymakers in ensuring 21st century learning opportunities for students. However, P21 also recognizes and supports the important role of parents in shaping the learners and citizens of tomorrow.

This is why we have created the Parents’ Guide to 21st Century Learning and Citizenship. We are excited to share this resource for several reasons.

1) This is P21’s first ever resource developed especially with parents and families in mind.

As P21’s executive director Helen Soule announced in March, P21 has expanded our work to include not just K12, but the full continuum of learning from cradle to career. As part of our expanded effort to support 21st century learning for all students, we know we have to involve parents and support them as equal partners in high quality 21st century learning and citizenship. We are very proud to have National PTA as our family engagement advisor in developing this guide and helping us share it with parents.

2) The resource explains what 21st century learning and citizenship are all about—without the jargon.

The Parents’ Guide is presented in three sections that build on each other—the Overview, which outlines the building blocks of 21st century learning and citizenship; Tips and Strategies that parents can use; and Real World Examples that show what 21st century learning looks like and different projects around the country that integrate 21st century learning and citizenship well.

Learning, work and citizenship today are complex, and this new resource aims to cut through the jargon and help parents understand what’s at stake as well as help them gain some ideas of how to engage in 21st century learning as a family.

3)  The guide empowers parents to support 21st century learning experience for their children.

As the old adage goes, “knowledge is power”—and this new resource supports parents’ knowledge and involvement in making sure their children’s education includes age-appropriate experiences that prepare them for work, life and citizenship beyond school. We know that the best time to teach kids about other cultures is between the ages of seven and twelve. We also know that just having access to digital tools does not ensure kids will know how to be safe and smart online.

Students today need to be globally aware and competent, digitally savvy and engaged as 21st century citizens. The real world examples and strategies found in the Parents’ Guide came from many organizations that work with parents and families by helping provide learning experiences that prepare kids for the future.

4) In the guide, P21 broadens the definition of 21st century citizenship education to include digital, political and global awareness.

There are many resources for parents that provide tips for preventing bullying, safe digital practices, building global awareness and civic engagement. There are also resources that help parents engage in their school communities, be advocates for their children and strengthen the 4Cs—communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity—which are so important for success in the workforce and 21st century life. P21’s Parents Guide includes many of these great resources in one place.

P21’s new guide is also unique in showing that 21st century citizenship and learning are closely interconnected and that both are necessary not just for student success, but for building a world in which all students are engaged, knowledgeable and active citizens.

All parents want their children to succeed at everything they do. We hope that our newest resource for parents will help do just that.

Download and share it today!

twarrickTatyana Warrick manages public outreach and media relations for P21, including the 21st Century Learning Exemplar Program, P21 Speakers Bureau, website and social media. She is also an active participant on the P21 21st Century Citizenship Task Force.

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