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There is No "Can't", but There is "Try"


November 10, 2011

Food for Thought

By: Tracy LeFevre
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Our Fall session is well under way and the children have settled into their new routines. You may hear them at home talking about there is no "can't" at Misty Morning, but there is "try".

Often a child will say, "I can't put my coat on." When we ask them to try two times, most often the child can do the task. The excitement and empowerment on the child's face is magical.

We want children to not be fearful of taking on the challenges of life. In the book "Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Need" by Ellen Galinsky, she discusses that challenges, even positive ones, can induce stress and our mindset makes the difference.

One researcher, Carol Dewk of Stanford University, has found that children who are willing to take on new challenges have a "growth mindset". They see their abilities as something they can develop.

Other children have a "fixed" mindset and see their intelligence as a fixed trait. Therefore they are reluctant to stretch themselves. Children with a growth mindset do better in school because they are not fearful of that new project or topic presented in class.

How can we encourage a growth mindset in children? By providing them opportunities to be challenged and praising their efforts. "You are working hard!" rather than praising their intelligence such as, "You are so smart."

We can help our children learn to love a challenge no matter how large or small. The right mindset early on will carry them far in all of their endeavors.

Tracy LeFevre is the director of Misty Morning Children's Center located less than a minute from Exit 10 off I-84 in Newtown, CT. Misty Morning Children’s Center believes a Children’s Center should not only provide for the educational needs of each child but also be a place where each child can find happiness, create memories, and be supported as (s)he advances from one stage of life to the next.