That is the vision of our early learning and public education system, and of this plan to improve during the next 10 years. Everyone at their best: four simple words, easy to remember, yet rich in meaning. As a vision, it is a rallying call to all members of the learning community, a call that will guide our plans and our actions for the next decade. It is both a means and an end, a model for a powerful early learning and education system that recognizes and nurtures personal excellence and continuous growth, hidden potential and burgeoning talents. As we embark on this 10-year adventure, let us imagine the vast potential of a system where everyone is contributing at their very best: children, youth and adults.
It is easy to say “Everyone at their best,” but what does it really mean? Since this plan relates to early childhood and K-12 education, it seems obvious that we want all children and youth to be learning at the level that is forever stretching their personal development. And this, indeed, is the case. Every child and young person has particular talents and skills that are unique and important, and these must be identified and nurtured.
Our goal as an early learning and education system must be to know each child’s strengths and challenges, and to adjust the learning environment to this end. Clearly, if tasks are too easy, they do not lend themselves to new learnings, but if they are too hard, they can lead to frustration and unnecessary stress. The goal is to find the spot that is just right for each learner, that magic place where children and youth experience continuous growth of understanding and discovery. In this way, we will help all learners find, construct and demonstrate their individual brands of brilliance.