What is the Mindset of our Young Children?

Every year in August, Beloit College in Wisconsin publishes what they call a “Mindset List” for the incoming freshman class. Its intention is to make the faculty and staff aware of what has (and hasn’t) taken place during the lifetime of the newest group of scholars. The list has gained widespread recognition for its insight. I started thinking—what is the mindset of the young children in our care? So, here is my list for Early Care and Education 2011-2012.

  • At most, they have seen three leap years, but probably only one or two (2008, 2004, 2000).
  • The Euro has existed (non-physical currency introduced 1/1/1999 and physical currency in circulation 1/1/2002) for their entire lives.
  • Y2K means as much to them as dial-up internet.
  • They have always had the ability to pause live TV (DVR and TiVo were rolled out in 1999).
  • None of them remember the events of 9/11, and most had not been born.
  • They don’t know a time when Spongebob Squarepants hasn’t been on the air (it premiered 5/1/1999).
  • Certain gadgets they are familiar with now will be obsolete within the next 10 years, such as DVD players, basic digital cameras and video game consoles (according to Seth Fiegerman in his article, “7 Gadgets That Won’t Be Around In 2020“).
  • They have always been able to “google” (it went live in 1998).
  • Siskel and Ebert never gave “two thumbs up” in their lifetime.
  • Some of them may already have a cell phone. If they don’t, chances are good they will have one within the next 8 years (66% of children 8-18 years old had a cell phone as of 2009, up from 39% in 2004, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation study Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year Olds).
  • They will consider songs like Baby One More Time, Living La Vida Loca, Ironic, Achy Breaky Heart, Genie in a Bottle, and Gangsta’s Paradise “retro.”
  • Quarters commemorating the states are no longer “special” (enacted 12/1/1997, with all 50 represented by the end of 2008).
  • Their parents probably went to see The Princess Bride, Home Alone, The Lion King, or Toy Story at the movie theater as a child.

Do any of these surprise you? What do they reveal to you about the children in your care? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!