If you haven’t heard of QI skills before, you are not alone.
That’s because the use of the word “QI” (pronounced “key”) to describe a set of valuable 21st century skills is, in fact, altogether new as a concept I introduce in my new book, The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today That Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow. The familiar set of skills that I have collectively dubbed “QI,” however, are anything but new and likely to be quite familiar.
QI skills have in the past been commonly referred to as “soft,” “non-cognitive” and “other” – all terms that I am not alone in finding strikingly inadequate in conveying the critical importance of the skills they represent. These skills include social-emotional and executive function skills, focus and attention, emotional intelligence and a whole host of others such as creativity, critical thinking, character, empathy, grit, perseverance, drive and resilience.
In looking for a more fitting and concise term to describe this list, I happened upon the word “qi” – a term it turns out has long been used across cultures and centuries to represent positive energy or a positive life force that one can be born with, but also can be developed.
In my commitment to help everyone better recognize and understand the value of these QI skills, I distilled them down into seven core categories.
The recognition of the importance of the QI skills has increased significantly in recent years, fueled by a large and growing body of research from across the realms of pediatrics, psychology, neuroscience, and public health to business and economics. While “IQ” and the more “cognitive” skills still matter, these QI skills are now thought to represent the 21st century toolkit of skills needed to succeed in an increasingly complex and globalized world that is placing new demands on all of us to think more critically and creatively; and to now more than ever “play well” with, empathize with and read other people.
One of the key reasons that QI skills are proving themselves to be so important to foster – especially during the first five years – is because research now tells us that their early and strong presence is predictive of future life success – from school and work success to measures of overall health and well-being.
Follow along on the blog, Facebook, and Twitter as we further explore and discuss the exciting research behind The Toddler Brain. I’m glad you’re here and look forward to exchanging ideas with you.
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