Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Education is foundational life education, with the goal of improving the student’s ability to be successful in today’s world. This instruction (commonly referred to as “life literacy”) begins at the middle level and continues into the secondary school through the FCS content areas of nutrition and wellness; interpersonal relationships; child development; parenting; consumer, personal and family finance; and more which are instrumental in helping students develop into successful career and life managers.
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21st Century Process Skills:
“Because of the rapid changes both technological and social, it is becoming less possible to operate our lives effectively using old paradigms. The learners today will be living in a society that will require its citizens to think constructively, make sound decisions, solve problems, access information and take responsibility for their own lives. The educational challenge is to build essential skills for learners in preparation for adult life.” ~Personal and Family Wellness Task Force, 1996
Since 1996, middle and secondary level FCS Education has followed a process-based instruction model. All content is taught while instilling the eight process skills to help students make sense of this information-heavy society in which we live. These eight process skills include: Cooperation, Decision Making, Problem Solving, Leadership, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Goal Setting, and Management. Research has indicated success in developing these skills when the FCS classroom involves quality Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) activities. In addition, more recently, these skills have been embraced by the educational system at large due to the needs of industry. For these reasons, Family and Consumer Sciences is strategically prepared to serve a vital role in the development of students to become college, career and life ready.
Family and Consumer Sciences programs at the middle level are prime locations to begin important foundational work when it comes to life literacy, social emotional development, civic engagement and career introduction. In fact, many say the best timeframe IS the younger adolescent for such habit changing ground work.
In 2016, an in-depth view of Middle Level FCS (grades 6-8) was conducted by middle level FCS teachers and teacher educators to identify the role FCS should play in the student’s development. It’s not just being an elective anymore, but rather the first step a student will have toward developing “success skills” which begins with informed decision making about being a healthier person—socially, emotionally, physically and fiscally. The following is a summary of the results of that work: A quality middle level FCS program:
A quality middle level FCS program:
• Will develop an understanding of self and how decisions now impact their future;
• Is hands on, active learning which involves project based instruction;
• Expects process skill development (i.e. decision making, problem solving, goal setting, creativity, responsibility, leadership, collaboration, thinking);
• Has middle level FCS standards to ensure quality of instruction and expected rigor (See “Middle Level FCS Standards”);
• Provides an exploratory introduction to Family and Consumer Sciences content, but focusing on personal development before career skills introduction (at the 8th grade level);
• Considers the order of skills developed and content which is real life and authentic (See “Quality Middle Level Program Guide”);
• Expects ethical behavior, honesty, responsibility, trust, acceptance and respect for fellow classmates;
• Can add additional relevance through establishment of a Middle level Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Chapter (See www.ksde.org/ksfccla);
• Is the first step to a secondary level FCS program, with many linkages to the career clusters and Kansas Career and Technical Education procedures; and
• Has a Kansas developed middle-level teaching resource (See “Developing Life Literacy in Middle Level FCS Programs”) with approximately 100 lessons. These lessons are already aligned to all of the above and are divided into for subject areas—Human Relations—Consumerism—Employability (and Careers)—Nutrition and Wellness. The resource is accessed through trainings. Contact Gayla Randel at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about upcoming trainings.
The Common Career and Technical Core (CCTC) has identified 12 Career Ready Practices which provide a framework for the developmental experiences necessary to becoming career ready– experiences that can be “practiced” using many different approaches in a variety of settings. Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) life literacy initiatives directly address these career ready practices and can be considered an appropriate “first step”. Additional enhancement of these skills occurs within the FCS related occupational coursework and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) experiences.
The document below can be helpful when seeing the direct link to the FCS classroom. As you review the document, it is helpful to note the BOLD FONT items are considered concepts needing to be understood before the career ready practices skills can be developed. Red font items are considered uniquely addressed only through Family and Consumer Sciences Education. FCCLA activities are also included to show the Career and Technical Student Organizations relationship and authentic applications within the FCS discipline.
Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Education addresses many of the issues of concern in today’s society. Research indicates a need for strategies of prevention which can collectively impact our society in positive ways. FCS in Kansas has courses in place which address these needs. In addition, when the FCS classroom content is expanded through authentic experiences found in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) student organization, the impact is strengthened.
Q1. FCS Ed Addresses Employability in the Helping Professions
Q2. FCS Ed Addresses Healthy Relationships
Q3. FCS Ed Addresses Personal and Family Finance
Q4. FCS Ed Addresses Obesity and Health/Safety
Answer: Nutrition and Wellness includes a study of basic nutrition and wellness decisions which is a determining factor in individual health and those they interact with. Food preparation is included which has been linked to prevention of obesity.
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