The Commons: Renewal of Higher Education Starts in Kindergarten

It takes the whole village to educate its next generation.
Appears in Spring 2018 Issue: Is the University Worth Saving?
March 1st, 2018

The renewal of higher education depends almost entirely on the revitalization of elementary and secondary education. If students are to arrive at their post‐secondary years with eager, alert, awakened intellects and interests, we—all of us in the society and communities in which our students are situated—must become enamoured anew of generously furnishing the imaginations, minds, and experiences of the young.

If goodness, truth, and beauty exist in our cultures and our world, then we all must become convicted, once again, to excavate, share, and experience these cultural, natural, and spiritual goods across the generations. If children are persons created to be in relationship—relationship with God, with others, and with the universe—and if the breadth and vitality of these relationships is the foundation on which flourishing in higher education and later adult life depends, then the connections and loves developed in childhood and teen years matter profoundly.

Perhaps if parents, professionals, and others who partner in forming and educating our young—teachers, tutors, TAs, trustees, school heads, custodians, librarians, coaches, grandparents, neighbours, shopkeepers, doctors, co‐parishioners, museum curators, artists, and athletes—thought of their interactions with our young as opportunities for putting children in relation with the best ideas and things—from thoughts and practices to places and plants, from architecture and art to books and brooks—then our children and teens would grow and mature into young adults who not only know much, but also care much. And these are two key pieces on which a vibrant higher education rests.


Senior Fellow at Cardus, Senior Fellow at the Fraser Institute, and former Director of Teacher Education at Redeemer University College.


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