Entrepreneurship Education With Preservice Teachers: Challenges to Kindergarten Children

Entrepreneurship Education With Preservice Teachers: Challenges to Kindergarten Children

Lina Fonseca (Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7675-4.ch010
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The theme of entrepreneurship has been pointed out a few years ago, by international institutions, as being essential to be integrated into the school, to empower future citizens to become agents of change and improvement of living conditions in their communities. Widely understood as the ability to turn ideas into action, their integration must be done early in school and requires a change in the learning environment. This should focus on the student who has been given an essential and active role in learning. The development of entrepreneurial skills, called soft skills, slow to develop and essential to every citizen, should be done as soon as possible. This chapter aims to disseminate a methodology of entrepreneurial education applied to children from 3 to 12 years old and exemplify with projects developed in kindergarten contexts.
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Entrepreneurship is a subject discussed by international and national organizations and researchers (e.g. Comissão Europeia, 2006; Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional, 2014; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2005; Pereira, Ferreira, & Figueiredo, 2007; Redford, 2013; Sarasvathy & Venkataraman, 2010; Wang, 2012) as an essential subject to citizens. It is one of the key competences for lifelong learning (European Commission, 2007). The researchers can view entrepreneurship in different ways, from an economic perspective (Drucker, 1986) to a wider perspective, as the capacity to turn ideas into actions (Comissão Europeia, 2006). Entrepreneurship education is pointed out by the need to educate new generations to an active citizenship.

To face XXI century unknown challenges, children and pupils must develop their knowledge, their attitudes and technical skills, but also soft skills, to become prepared to solve difficult unknown problems presented by a rapidly changing and global world. Diverse stakeholders, like researchers, executives, educators, decision makers and politicians (e.g. European Commission, 2011; Lippman, Ryberg, Carney, & Moore, 2015; OECD, 2005, 2018; Rasmussen & Nybye, 2013) accepted this conviction.

Soft skills will empower learners: (a) to face problems, (b) to be creative, (c) to act in an innovative way, (d) in teamwork, (e) to share ideas, (f) to keep positive mind-sets, (g) in active listening, (h) to accept criticism, (i) to communicate in an organized and clear way, (j) to think critically, (l) to be persistent and resistant, (m) in overcoming weaknesses and (n) to adapt to new situations (Fonseca et al., 2015b).

Employers consider soft skills essential when they look for a collaborator for a new job (IEFP, 2014; Lippman et al., 2015; Wang, 2012), but soft skills are also essential to any active, participative and critical citizen. Children and students must develop an active citizenship and become more powerful change agents in their lives and communities (Carver, 1997). They could identify and overcome community needs or turn their dreams into actions (OECD, 2005).

Soft skills:

…refer to a broad set of skills, competencies, behaviours, attitudes, and personal qualities that enable people to effectively navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals. These skills are broadly applicable and complement other skills such as technical, vocational, and academic skills (Lippman et al., 2015, p. 11).

The literature raises the question of whether soft skills can be developed and how to do it with children. Several authors maintain that soft skills can be developed (Fonseca et al., 2015b; Haase & Lautenschlager, 2011; Lippman et al., 2015) and in this chapter, the author intend to show a way to develop them with children, since the age of 3 years old. Wang (2012) defend that children and students need challenging learning environments that enable them to an active participation, to increase their interpersonal relationships and projects development. Projects based on learners’ ideas, allowing them to transform ideas into actions, that is, to be entrepreneurs, in the broad OECD concept (OECD, 2005), could be a good option to develop soft skills.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Challenging Learning Environments: Are formal environments where children and students face innovative tasks.

Entrepreneurial Education: Is formal education that intends to develop children soft skills integrated with the compulsory curriculum.

Empower: Is to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes of all human beings.

Soft Skills: Personal skills related with attitudes and behaviors revealed in human interactions.

Financing Collaborators: The project collaborator who buys any kind of products elaborated in the project.

Entrepreneurship: Is the human capacity to transform ideas into actions.

Seed Teachers: The teacher that spread new ideas about entrepreneurship.

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