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Professional Development

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Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework

What are the key characteristics that propel today's youth toward success? How can we as adults foster the development of these important characteristics? Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework, a report by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, addressed these very questions.

The report demonstrates that in order to be successful, children must play an active role in their own lives, possess a strong sense of self, and know how to be productive, effective and adaptable. Adults can directly affect these core competencies.

Some of the qualities that successful young adults possess, such as self regulation, were acquired back in preschool. Other skills, such as the development of a healthy mindset, do not fully emerge until the middle school years.

Children learn through experiences. It is important that the adults in their lives select developmentally appropriate, active and reflective experiences that lead to healthy development.

Active developmental experiences allow children to encounter novel situations, tinker, choose their own activities, practice and receive feedback and contribute to the world in meaningful ways. Reflective developmental experiences help the children decipher and solidify what they have learned.

Providing professional development activities to those who work with children could help them better create active, reflective developmental experiences. These individuals should also be equipped with strategies to address special challenges that face many disadvantaged youth.

Overall, all children require consistent, supportive relationships to thrive.

Click here to read the Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework in its entirely.

Written by Lisa Stickler, staff writer for AfterSchool Today magazine. 

Photo courtesy of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.