By Sara G. Stephens
The question has been asked by The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, BusinessWeek, and the New York Times: Where have all the business leaders gone, and where will we find the business leaders of tomorrow?
Most people would have a hard time arguing against the idea that the country—the world, in fact—is suffering from a leadership crisis. Responding to this crisis, and armed with the knowledge that leadership is a learned skill, many business schools and undergraduate colleges now offer leadership programs. It’s a “better late than never” approach to solving very immediate problems arising from a today’s lack of leadership skills among young professionals. But, as with any skill, the sooner you learn leadership, the better you will be at leading.
Enter Young Leaders Campus (YLC), a Houston-based educational organization founded on the notion of changing and innovating the educational industry to expose today’s children to emerging technologies, new learning methodologies and many other advantages that will help them secure leadership roles among their peers–for their lifetime.
YLC embraces all the core tents of leadership in its programs, starting with the principle that leadership is all about people. To a true leader, the ability of the individual is considered the greatest asset to any organization. A person’s contributions, lessons learned for future growth and impact on the people around him weigh more than line-item results. Leaders focus on the importance of process and on engaging people within the process. Similarly, YLC promises its students’ parents a program that emphasizes process, as opposed to results, thereby permitting children to take risks and explore boundaries without fear. And this offering nurtures one of the most elusive traits of leadership: risk taking. Thought by many to be a naturally-born quality (either you have it or you don’t), the ability to take risks is a trait that is developed over time, with age-appropriate challenges and positive reinforcement—precisely what YLC’s programming offers.
YLC applies its appreciation for the power of the person to its entire teaching staff, and students strongly sense this priority. “The real value of Young Leader’s Campus is your people,” says one YLC parent. “Your staff has been so nurturing, caring, and influential, that we would never consider another school again.”
Leaders also embrace the opportunity to try new things, keeping open minds about stepping outside their comfort zones. Right in step with this ideal, YLC offers computer labs, science labs, music labs, art studios, cooking schools, language schools, and overall enrichment and learning technologies that simply don’t exist in other learning environments. The result is a learning experience that is actually fun and effective at the same time. One YLC parent says her kids “feel like they are in Disneyland” while at school. And, although the school’s programs are available for kids from ages 6 months to 12 years, the programs are custom designed to ensure every student gets meaningful enrichment from her educational day. “We have three children in your campus, and they each have completely different personalities and needs,” says another YLC parent. “Your teachers have helped each one develop his/her talents, taught them respect, how to work with others, and how to prepare for elementary school. They also have made lifelong friends they can grow with.”
Key to YLC’s unique educational offering is Kid 2.0, a comprehensive, proprietary, research-based curriculum that addresses the needs of today’s children. The exclusive, globally-oriented programming is developed from the strongest curriculum components of the best educational institutions around the world. Furthermore, each program is custom designed to enhance the educational skills of YLC students in a fun, inquiry-based environment that develops and enhances critical and divergent thinking skills. The program gives ample time for imaginative play and incorporates an approach that highlights sustainability. The foundation of the program is predominately based upon constructivist research in early childhood education development, inquiry-based instruction technique, and structural cooperative learning classroom management. Such a progressive approach to teaching contrasts sharply with the glut of public and private schools whose teaching methodologies have not been upgraded in decades. And by incorporating a structural cooperative learning classroom management technique and very low student-teacher ratios (typically 10:1 or lower), YLC students have the opportunity to work individually, in small groups, or in somewhat larger groups when necessary, thereby exposing them to the benefits that come from variations of group intelligence—knowledge that will serve them well as they adopt their roles as leaders.
For the inquisitive parent who wants to test the waters of YLC’s new-wave teaching, the schools also offer after-school programs, camps, and even birthday parties (many are occupationally themed).
YLC can well be considered the Harvard or Juilliard school for children, offering its students unprecedented tools for developing skill sets to succeed in whatever direction their creative spirits wander. The world is changing quickly. For anyone with a great education, opportunities are vast.
As a parent, why wait for college or business school, when you can shape, position, and prepare your children now to become the business, political, or creative leaders of their generation?
Explore YLC at www.ylcampus.com or visit the organization’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ylcampus