Part of the study of the future with young children is having them imagine future worlds and when they might happen. The following are selections of drawings from a series on imagining future schools.
This is his idea:
“This is the pyramid school. The sun shows into the star above the school and lights the school (a type of light that requires no electricity). The people go to the underground mine, which is lit by the star, to search for gold. This school is 5 years into the future because I’m going to hire people to build it in my backyard.”
What is particularly interesting about Spencer’s response was his ability to project time and production methods into his future vision. This is one element that alludes most future studies discussions within the early childhood framework – often a young child’s ‘wildly imaginative’ ideas are considered good enough, however, showing Spencer’s sense of agency and practicing agency is deeply necessary. Ofcourse, it is quite difficult to allow a child’s agency to move through to fruition, as so often their ideas penetrate reality in a way that render their ideas “impossible.” We must stray from that assumption. A child’s wild ideas when coupled with a sense of agency, and production tools will create futures which are radically possible.
Drawing by Jacob, Age 5.
Jacob’s idea of a future school was an underground school:
“In the underground school we play all day underground. We play under the streets and sidewalks. My future will happen one day.”
Drawing by Oliver, Age 5.
Oliver’s school idea is a Robot School:
“In the robot school we would play with robots all day, we would also make robots.”
Drawing by Ry, Age 5.
Ry took Oliver’s idea a different direction with his “Bionicle School”:
“In this future we will build our own bionicles. And the school itself will move like a bionicle (the school moves and walks with people inside). My school is two hunderd million thousand years away.”
Drawing by Ronan, Age 5.
In this future school, humans won’t be able to enjoy it because:
“This is the future of inventions school. Dogs and cats will have alien eyes. There won’t be people. This school will happen in the future when everyone is dead.”
Drawing by Lia, Age 5.
Lia – the same one who brought you the “futures story” now brings you her version of a future school:
“My future school is underground. There are poisonous glass worms on the crystal ball (world) that is underground, so the worms wouldn’t slime the building because it is made of glass. This future is so far away that no people will ever get there.”
As you can see, their versions of future schools are uniquely different – with a range of understandings of the traveling of time, of human’s place in the future and of the system of schooling.