Parents value soft skills over academic prowess finds nursery survey

Parents value the development of “soft skills” over academic prowess, according to a research from a nursery group.

Bright Horizons surveyed more than 3,000 working parents and found that the development of resilience and interpersonal and social skills were ranked above the acquisition of technical skills like programming, maths and data analysis. 

When asked what skills children would most need in the future, 38% of the sample  cited resilience and the ability to cope through change as a key skill, and the same proportion highlighted  interpersonal and social skills. Maths and data analysis were chosen by 29%, and written and spoken communication skills by 32%.

Resilience was the most desired skill from working parents aged 55 and above, while interpersonal skills topped the list for parents aged between 35 and 54. Imagination, creativity and problem solving was the key skill for younger parents aged 18 to 34.

The findings formed part of Bright Horizons UK’s annual Modern Families Index survey. One parent quoted in the report said: “Having interpersonal skills and resilience helps her to understand when she should say no to something. She will live in a world where no one will ever be able to switch off. She needs to be able to create boundaries and show her worth at work so as to not be overlooked by AI.”

Caroline Wright, director of early childhood at Bright Horizons UK, said: “These findings amplify the importance of the uniquely holistic educational approach practised in our nurseries. There is a rapidly growing need for parents to feel their child’s emotional development is being supported as they mature, so by introducing the concept of positive mental health from an early age, we can help children feel safe and secure and be open to learning.”

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