Essential Experiences

If we could go beyond the usual curriculum checklist, what do we really want our kids to experience as they go through adolescence? What are the essential experiences that would help them grow, that would be challenging in the right degree? If we kept in mind the research that memories from adolescence last longer than those from any other time, due perhaps to the emotional intensity of that age, to the identity-formation taking place - what do we want our kids to remember? Like the “core memories” in the film Inside Out, what do we hope our kids will return to for strength and confidence as they navigate adult life?

In wondering about this question, I put together this initial brainstorm of “Essential Experiences” with middle and high schoolers in mind. What would you add or remove?

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