Developing the right mindset early on is vital for a successful and fulfilling life.
It is all too common in our competitive age to praise results and outcomes. Children from early on learn that results and intelligence define us. How many students go through school believing that their HSC result reflects not only their intelligence but how successful they will be? This is a perfect example of a fixed mindset.
We believe that outcomes and results are important. Not because they determine how smart we are but because they can be used as benchmarks for reflection, growth and improvement. Therefore it is important to use language with children during these learning phases that reflect a growth mindset. What is vital during any learning process with a child is to instill confidence and teach children that our abilities and intelligence can change and grow with effort. This is what a growth mindset is all about.
You might be thinking “Don’t teachers already do that in the early learning classroom?” This is true, but the language that teachers use in the learning process with their students is only ONE of the key components that make up a genuine growth mindset approach. Other than good teachers that have a growth mindset approach to learning, RESOURCES, or to put it more bluntly, the RIGHT resources are what’s vital in developing a growth mindset in children.
You might not realise this but resources such as toys and puzzles are designed within an open ended or closed learning system. Close-ended toys have a clear ending point. In a puzzle for example, once all the pieces are assembled the child moves on to the next activity. Close-ended toys are good for building attention and help with task completion. A disadvantage however is that it can be challenging to promote language because of the limitations in word choices and interactions with these types of toys. Open-ended toys are the opposite of close-ended toys in that they do not have a definite ending point. They can be used in many different ways and really promote pretend play, expand language and encourage interaction with others. When toys don’t have instructions, they encourage children to use critical thinking skills and their imagination. We have carefully selected only the highest quality toys that aim to foster a growth mindset approach in children. If you see our range of resources, you will first notice the quality and workmanship that has gone into making our wooden toys. We believe in quality over quantity and also in providing toys that are safe and are more ethically and environmentally friendly. Our wooden toys are also specifically designed to foster open-ended play that encourage children to play imaginatively and independently.
We come from a background of Mathematics and English teachers. One thing that we have learned in education is the importance for children from an early age to be able to attach concrete knowledge to abstract mathematical concepts. For our preschoolers our math materials help children approach math with hands-on, visual and physical learning aids. These materials allow students to attach concrete knowledge to abstract concepts in maths. We use a wide variety of materials to explore the base-ten number system and the myriad relationships among numbers, all within a growth mindset framework.
Our outdoor play space is designed with a growth mindset approach consisting of high quality and environmentally sustainable wooden equipment that educators and children can manipulate based on their moods and learning activities for the day. When children are made to take responsibility for their learning spaces, they feel empowered and motivated but also happier that they have made a direct contribution to the environment that they are learning in.
Our vision for all our children is that through our Growth Mindset model they will all develop a willingness to confront challenges, develop a passion for learning, and ultimately see failure as a springboard for growth. This mindset is strongly linked to greater happiness in life and so if our children are ultimately happy, we’ve done something right.