Supporting Your Child’s Mindset for Learning

Have you noticed how much the education profession loves buzzwords, jargon, and trends? It’s true, but for a reason. It’s a hard job no matter the age of your students, and we are all looking for the best ways to motivate and support our students as they learn. Often, when a new trend hits education, I try to learn as much about it as I can and filter it through an early childhood lens. Young children in their early childhood years learn differently, and our classrooms and practice ought to reflect that. The term Growth Mindset has been very popular for a few years now, but much of the resources that are out there need to be updated or are for older children. I wanted to give you a quick and simple look at what growth mindset would be like in an early childhood classroom.

WHAT IS A

GROWTH MINDSET?

A growth mindset is the belief that our abilities and intelligence can change and grow with effort. The whole idea of a growth mindset is rooted in the concept that learners face challenges and tasks with one of two mindsets. A fixed mindset that looks at ability as finite and already set, for example, “I did well because I am smart” or “I failed because I am dumb.” In a fixed mindset, there is no room for improvement; there is a belief that no effort will be enough to overcome the challenge, and there is no motivation to keep going because there’s no point. The polar opposite, of course, is the growth mindset that sees failures as attempts at future successes, considers challenges as motivation and a chance to develop new skills, and it builds confidence through effort.

The reality is very few children are always in a fixed mindset or always in a growth one, the specific task and their existing skill set normally play a large role in where they fall on the spectrum of fixed or growth. Still, we know that a growth mindset is where we want the children to be because setting the stage for becoming resilient learners will help our students in the classroom and out.

GROWTH MINDSET FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Praise the Process! 

Don’t we already do that in ECE? I think we do for the most part, but I think there is much more to growth mindset than that. Some of the things I think we should be focusing on in these younger years to set the stage for a growth mindset is to focus on problem-solving, confidence building and accepting mistakes and failures as part of the process.

How do we do that?