The Benefits of Starting Early & Implementing a Full K-12 Solution
Can early access to one future readiness solution that grows with students make a big difference? Yes, it can! Find out how.
If there’s one thing all kids crave, it’s consistency. From a hearty breakfast to Mom’s lap to a favorite blankie, things that are dependable provide security and build confidence in kids.
And while they may outgrow some of their early comforts, children deserve some constants that grow with them, from kindergarten through to adulthood. Constants like, for example, the love and support of family, a progressively challenging and stimulating education… and future readiness software that grows with them.
More and more, administrators, educators, and parents are recognizing the value of getting a head start on career exploration from a very young age. In The Early Years: Career Development for Young Children, authors and researchers Mildred Cahill and Edith Furey found that even young children have a vision of how they see themselves in the future. “Children who are supported in their dreams and visions for the future are likely to explore a diverse range of future career options; they don’t rule out possibilities prematurely,” Cahill and Furey write in the educator’s guide.
“In supportive learning environments, [students] make decisions, solve problems, and develop positive beliefs about themselves. This sense of self in the present will expand into their future selves, their aspirations, and goals, which are very important in career development.”
Early childhood is a ripe time to set students on a path to career fulfillment. One way to ensure this happens consistently for all students across entire districts is to implement a future readiness software that begins in the early years and evolves with them straight through the end of high school.
And students aren’t the only ones who will benefit from one dependable and innovative future readiness solution. Teachers, counselors, and administrators have a lot to gain, too.
Let’s explore the benefits of implementing a single future readiness solution that follows students from their earliest school years all the way to high school graduation.
One Future Readiness Solution: Benefits for Students
Most future readiness software was initially designed for middle and high school students to help them map out their interests, skills, and learning styles and match them with relevant and rewarding careers. But many solutions have expanded to include lessons and other features that inspire younger students to start thinking about their abilities and their futures. They can start to build self-knowledge, explore options early, create a plan, and learn and reassess as they grow and change.
When students as young as kindergarten age are given access to a future readiness solution, they can start to build a foundation for success. Advantages include:
- Articulated aspirations: Children as young as five can express occupational dreams. Future readiness software offers a valuable opportunity to influence and socialize career readiness at a young age.
- Reduced gender stereotyping: Occupational gender stereotyping starts at a young age. When kids are exposed to non-traditional workers in different fields, their world opens up.
- Improved outcomes: Youth who understand the processes and complexities of career development experience better academic outcomes and well-being.
- Better self-awareness: When students create visual portfolios, they are able to showcase their unique personality and preferences. By adding to a personal profile throughout their entire school career, they can track how their interests, skills, and experiences expand and grow.
- Understanding of careers: When young students have the opportunity to see the big picture—how interests, skills, and abilities relate to careers, plus what careers are available and what they involve, including salaries, tasks, and more—they can start to think about their futures in an informed way.
- Learning how to set goals: Future readiness tools help students track their short- and long-term achievements by creating measurable, age-appropriate goals. They can record and celebrate milestones from kindergarten to grade 12.
Another huge benefit of implementing one future readiness solution is that it helps students from elementary school transition to middle school and then to high school. With a personal profile that grows with them, they can see how their interests have evolved over time—and what has remained constant. Students who use Xello are able to see when it’s time to retake Matchmaker as their development moves them beyond their earliest interests.
And, even though students in the digital age are typically adept at picking up new technology, there’s something to be said for having the same interface for future readiness from your earliest school days through to applying for college. Students with access to a consistent and dependable solution that they understand and are familiar with are free to use it to its full potential instead of spending time figuring out how it works.
One Future Readiness Solution: Benefits for Educators and Administrators
Anyone who’s ever had to switch to new software can tell you that it can be a painful process. Although some future readiness solutions make it as easy as possible, there’s still a learning period to get through.
When a district selects one district-wide tool for the long run, they will experience a number of advantages, including:
- Increased efficiency: A tool that stores students’ records from K-12 allows educators to get at-a-glance information about how a student has changed over time. Counselors have the same backend reporting system regardless of the grade(s) they support. And district leads and administrators have one vendor relationship to manage.
- Help with lesson planning: Most online career planning software engages experienced content specialists to prepare grade-specific lessons, so students have access to age-appropriate content at the right times. And with one solution, these lessons build from one grade to the next.
- Better continuity: A complete district future readiness tool means that all schools have access to the same system. That means no more misunderstandings or transferring information from one system to another. Everybody speaks the same language.
When districts use a consistent platform from K-12, they create a longer runway for developing future readiness skills. Students get a seamless experience that prepares them thoroughly for post-secondary experiences and a career—and a record that grows with them as they develop over time.
Educators and administrators have a tool that provides future readiness lessons and a place to store accurate graduation tracking and course validations. It’s easy to access and share information with colleagues across grades and schools.
While the early learning aspects of a good future readiness tool are compelling, this consistency benefits more than just young children.