Is education necessary for the development and success of an individual? Certainly, the answer to this question is yes, especially in childhood. During this formative stage of life, elementary schools are places that become extremely important for intellectual, emotional, and social development. Elementary schools are places where children spend most of the day; they are places where children become adults. Furthermore, the elementary school becomes more important when considering the possibility of the community’s deterioration. Children and teenagers are not contributing to the deterioration of the (traditional) physical community, but they are rather modifying its dynamic as community gradually shifts from the household into the school. Socialization continues to take place at elementary schools, meaning that children are still developing their social skills adequately. Today’s elementary school promotes multiculturism, creates spaces for unintentional relationships, and provides support against joint suffering, all of which are essential characteristics of the (traditional) physical community.
Firstly, today’s world is characterized by market integration and by the increased transnational mobility of people throughout the whole world. Schools today simply reflect this ongoing tendency towards multiculturism. In this context, today it is normal to find that in countries such as the United State ethnic minorities have stronger representation than ever before (including, though not limited to, African Americans, Latinos, Europeans, etc.). Nowadays, the world evolves into the consolidation of a global, multicultural society, one in which nationalities are no longer a major differentiator among different ethnicities. In the United States this tendency can be identified by recognizing how the historically white dominated America is rapidly approaching its end. In an article entitled “The End of White America?” Hua Hsu argues that the white America is no more existent. In the author’s opinion, “as a purely demographic matter, the ‘white America’ that Lothrop Stoddard believed in so fervently may cease to exist in 2040, 2050, or 2060, or later still. But where the culture is concerned, it’s already all but finished” (Hsu, 89). The truth of the matter is that the United States, a country that was founded by immigrants, has reconciled itself with the multiculturalism that allowed it to become the world’s greatest nation. At elementary schools this is certainly the case. The elementary school constitutes a space with multiple ethnicities and possibility to come into the direct contact with different people and establish relationships with one another. Interactions that lead to multiculturism have become historical tendency in the physical tendency; this is exactly what one observes in the elementary school’s context. For example, schools tend to promote cultural diversity; it is normal to find ethnical representation among both faculty and the student body. Black and white Americans play together during recess, learning about each other’s customs and cultures; they grow up seeing each other as equals (even despite their differences), thus enhancing multiculturalism.
Secondly, the elementary school confronts children and teenagers with the reality of joint suffering. In physical communities people are constantly interacting with each other waiting for a bus, having shopping in a grocery, or attending the movie theater. It is now believed that such types of interactions are rapidly approaching their end, especially considering that people are now more inclined to electronic (or virtual) interactions instead of direct, physical interaction. In principle, this would imply a loss of the joint suffering that is so essential to the consolidation of a physical community. In an article entitled “Is There a There in Cyberspace?” John Perry Barlow makes it clear that rapidly growing virtual community directly threatens physical community, because it detracts from the multiculturism that physical communities have historically pushed for. In terms of joint suffering, it is important to note that suffering is a part of life. Suffering conditions are the way in which people behave and the way in which they grow and ultimately develop as they become older. Physical communities are generally important because they allow individuals to cope with reality and learn how to handle themselves during rough times. Interaction with other people opens the possibility of joint suffering which is important as it helps people to facilitate trying to cope with suffering (especially during the transition from childhood into adulthood). On the subject of joint suffering Barlow points out that “there is the bond of joint suffering. Most community is a cultural stockade erected against a common enemy that can take many forms” (Barlow, 17). Following this line of thought, the elementary school accepts an entire new level of significance. Suffering can be (and usually is) a traumatic experience, especially among younger individuals. Schools can, therefore, help students learn about empathy, solidarity, and friendship as they ease each other’s problems via joint suffering. For example, having to face a difficult exam may signify stress for all students; this joint suffering experience can help them sympathize with each other and bond. Also, joint suffering may come during recess if the lunch served in the cafeteria is not to the student’s likes (as they will have to cope with it together).
.Today’s elementary school promotes multiculturism and provides support against joint suffering: features that are essential characteristics of the (traditional) physical community. Today it is argued that physical communities are rapidly approaching their end, particularly as innovation and technology strengthen and consolidate virtual communities around the world. However, it is equally clear that virtual communities are not displacing the physical communities. The virtual community has simply precipitated a shift in the physical community’s dynamic. Historically, physical communities have thrived at the household. Today, however, things are different. Physical community thrives at the work place; it also thrives at school. In future it is expected that this tendency will continue, thus guaranteeing the safeguard of the physical community.