Explore the Future with Vania Pérez, Early Childcare Facilitator

Topics: Future of Learning, Systems Change

People are still debating how much early childhood education should focus on play vs. academics. I say, “It’s play all the way.” Play, along with community.

Vania Pérez
Character from IMPACT: Learning Edition

Vania Pérez works as an early childcare facilitator. In 2022 terms, that means that she owns a home-based childcare center. Vania wants all young children to flourish. At her childcare center, she emphasizes play and community through culturally relevant early learning. Owning a home-based center means that she must balance the work of childcare with the work of running a business. A first-generation immigrant parent, Vania wants her middle school children to do well in school and find good jobs.

Not surprisingly given her focus on culturally relevant early learning, Vania’s preferred future is one in which community and culture are strong and respected. She also wants to make sure that health and well-being get strong support, as she sees first-hand how important they are in setting a foundation for children to flourish. As a business owner and mother, Vania also wants to make sure that the future economy is strong and that her children and others like them have solid employment options.

Vania Pérez is a fictional character from IMPACT: Learning Edition, a game helps players deepen their understanding of cause-and-effect relationships in the context of the future of learning. Someone playing for Vania’s preferred future would take note of developments such as those listed below.

  • “Play to Heal, Play to Learn” – What if trauma-informed and culturally relevant play became mainstream in schools, group homes, refugee camps and other support settings such as childcare centers?
  • Rock Me, Baby – What if universal, low-cost childcare became available in the U.S.?
  • Home Office, Home Classroom – What if people and organizations had to learn to toggle between in-person and remote work arrangements as they faced external disruptions?

You can make sense of your community’s changing education landscape with Looking Beneath the Surface: The Education Changemaker’s Guidebook to Systems Thinking to learn more about systems and how to change them in attainable ways.
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Some of these changes might increase demand for Vania’s services, while others might reduce demand by drawing people to other alternatives or making childcare arrangements less regular. Vania would have to think through what these changes might mean for her business, her family and her future aspirations and consider how she might respond, on her own or in collaboration with others.

Playing Vania’s hand can help players consider how various systems intersect to influence children’s experiences of education, as well as the needs they bring to it. Exploring these interconnections can help players consider what dynamics might be at play beneath the surface and what patterns of individual or organizational behavior might need to be addressed to bring about the futures players want.

Have a look at IMPACT: Learning Edition to play through how changes on the horizon could derail or accelerate today’s organizational and changemaking dynamics.