The skill set that best empowers future scientists must surely begin development at an early age . Are there ways to ensure these skills take root ?
There are times during every child ’ s life when he or she has an amazing opportunity to learn skills and process information in an almost magical way . However , when that window of opportunity closes , the same information , the same skills , must be learned the hard way , if at all , through repetition and memorization . One such well known window is for learning language . Before the age of 6 or 7 , a child can learn several languages effortlessly with enough exposure , while a teenager struggles to learn any second language .
When I developed Discover Magic – a curriculum for children 8 to 12 years old that is being taught in over 100 cities across the US , Canada , England , Australia and China – the goal was to help kids develop critical skill sets when it ’ s still easy for them to learn and integrate into their adult character . The Discover Magic program focuses on basic life skills including creativity , curiosity , listening , communicating , giving feedback , etc .
Magic requires children to interact and communicate effectively with others , it requires kids to imagine what others might be thinking , and it challenges them with how to think conceptually about magic trick methods and effects . At a time when society is reconstructing itself around devices that connect our children digitally with others , we have a greater need than ever to help them connect on a personal , human level that requires more eye contact , empathy , and personal interaction than swipes right or left .
Parents today instinctively understand the need to break their kids away from their near-obsessive focus on phones , tablets and gaming consoles and expose them to more human-to-human interactions and activities that teach skills for success as an adult , and perhaps as a scientist .
As a result , for what may be the first time ever , today ’ s younger generation seems to desperately need many of the very skill sets that are developed through the study and performance of magic , including curiosity , creativity , inquisitiveness , an openness to possibilities , a love for learning new things and “ secrets ,” interacting and communicating effectively in small group environments , etc .
There are even more subtle skills developed by magic that probably do more for a potential young scientist than you would imagine .