Having a growth mindset is essential for children of all ages. Teachers can initiate this line of thinking in learners as early as kindergarten and help them learn better. Let’s discuss growth mindset to kindergarten.
Kindergarten teachers need to engage their class in activities that promote a growth mindset. This approach is valuable to the students, and it makes your work easier as an educator.
Learners’ actions reflect their mindsets, and they extend beyond classroom activities, all the way to job application, career performance, and other things later in life.
A fixed mindset tends to feel criticized when feedback is issued, while those with growth mindsets see that as an opportunity to improve.
People with a fixed mindset view talent and intelligence as either present or absent attributes, but not things you can achieve through additional efforts.
They also believe that skills and intelligence are the only things you need to succeed. They rarely consider other aspects such as studying, effort, and hard work as part of success.
In simple terms, people with fixed mindsets believe that one is either talented, intelligent, and successful or lacks the first two traits and is therefore unsuccessful.
Learners with a fixed mindset are likely to lose hope and surrender their goals after encountering challenges. For example, some people claim that math or other subjects are not their strong points.
People with growth mindsets view things positively, which can be felt in their language as they use affirmative and hopeful phrases. Such people also understand that hard work and effort are essential if one wishes to succeed in anything.
When someone with a growth mindset comes across challenging science or math problems, they start figuring out how to solve them instead of sitting in despair and doing nothing.
They channel their minds away from failure or thinking that the tasks are too hard to tackle.
The kind of mindset a student holds has a huge impact on their education and other aspects of their lives.
Those with a fixed mindset are easily defeated and likely to give up when things don’t work out as planned, thus limiting their growth.
Learners who believe in growth constantly invest in growing their skills and working harder. They’re also more confident and competent than their peers with fixed mindsets.
Additionally, they grow in an all-rounded manner as they always seek ways to improve and increase their efforts.
Students and teachers should first understand the importance of a growth mindset in an education setting as well as achieving other things in life.
Parents also have a role to play in ensuring that their children understand the concept of growth mindset early in their lives. Repetition and emphasizing the benefits of this mindset helps students adapt to it.
How Do I Implement a Growth Mindset to Kindergarten?
Dweck, an expert in psychology, highlights that preschoolers should learn to embrace the obstacles they face in life to help them gain a growth mindset.
She emphasizes helping them learn the advantages of getting out of their comfort zones and putting more effort into learning challenging concepts.
By teaching children these things, their neurons become strongly connected, and their intelligence improves with time.
With this mindset, difficulty and challenges become paths instead of roadblocks to success.
When teaching children about mindsets, it is essential to first instill a sense of self-awareness in them. Start by highlighting the difference between fixed and growth mindsets and show them videos or read books on the subject.
Using stories to elaborate on the differences between the two mindsets helps the kids relate to scenarios that either adopt the positive mindset or avoid the negative one. Engage the learners in group discussions to see how well they capture the concept.
As part of this exercise, ask them to identify activities that make one another appear to have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. They can challenge or help each other to embrace the growth mindset more.
“Making a Splash” is an example of something you can introduce in your kindergarten class when teaching the benefits of a growth mindset. The book is about two siblings learning to swim but approaching it with different mindsets.
The story teaches about persistence and effort as children gain new skills. It also highlights why different individuals have to use more effort than others to achieve the same thing.
The book also suggests how parents can help their children gain a growth mindset, offering suggestions on approaching the issue.
Children are more likely to adopt the behavior they see in adults.
By developing a growth mindset yourself, you teach your learners to act by example. According to developmental psychologists, children learn new attitudes and behaviors by watching how you handle yourself when facing hardships.
You can achieve this by thinking out loud and airing your ideas or thoughts using affirmative phrases when you are required to solve a problem. Talk near them and ensure they can hear what you are saying.
Replace phrases like, “I can’t do this because it’s too difficult,” with, “This is challenging, but I can do it if I practice more.”
It may be awkward initially, but you will get used to it if you keep talking positively. Before you realize it, making affirmations becomes a natural part of conversations with the children.
This strategy works well for teachers aiming at equipping learners with positive thinking. As a parent, you’ll notice changes in your child’s speaking mode and choice of words when faced with a difficult challenge.
You can help your young ones set various life goals, then steer them to achieving those goals. This process helps them witness continual improvement firsthand and learn through experience.
As Carol Dweck explains, one must first develop an improvement plan before setting goals.
Using the acronym S.M.A.R.T helps with elaborate and meaningful goal-setting. It shows the aspects of each goal set.
- The first letter, S, helps you identify the Specific goal and methods used to achieve them.
- The second letter, M, represents the Measurement of success you wish to achieve.
- The letter A is for the achievability of the goals, helping you gauge whether it is realistic and doable.
- R is for relevance, identifying how the goal will help you after reaching it.
- Lastly, T represents the time taken to accomplish the set goal.
Before setting goals with your kids, ask them to point out what they are good at, then engage them on things they can do better.
The next step is to develop a plan together and help them accomplish these goals by dividing them into smaller milestones.
Let your children understand that it’s okay to make mistakes and fail in some aspects.
You may be wondering, why should you do that, yet the main goal is to teach them about success?
The reason for this is that we learn through our flaws and mistakes.
Help your children learn to celebrate and embrace mistakes instead of fearing them. The following pointers should help you accomplish this;
- After getting home from school, encourage them to talk about their difficulties during the day.
- When having dinner and family talk, encourage them to discuss their mistakes and how they corrected those mistakes.
- If your child fails in something, show them how they can approach the issue differently and improve in the failed areas.
For example, if your child wants to become a designer but can’t seem to make the right designs, point out the things they did well and let them know they’re also capable of doing better in areas they failed. This will show them that winning and failing are equally important and part of life.
Avoid comparing your child to other peers, whether positively or negatively. Doing that can place them in a static position or make them feel like they should be competing with others.
They may grow up thinking they are only good if they are one thing or the other, depriving them of the chance to explore other possibilities.
Comparisons can be mistaken for motivation, but instead of helping children grow, they instill a fixed mindset in them.
The best way to motivate children is by showing them they are unique and success does not depend on their skills or talents only but the effort.
Children who get a chance to grow without being compared to others get a platform to experiment on their interests. They can discover their strengths, weaknesses, and potential by exercising their growth mindset and exploring different aspects of life.
Remember to be there for your children and let them watch you do the following things;
- Working persistently on tasks that are challenging;
- Engaging in new tasks;
- Dealing with challenges enthusiastically;
- Correcting your mistakes instead of giving up on the task;
- Rising again after failure and applying more effort until you succeed.
To teach children about these things, you can tell them the story of a pig passionate about inventing something that would help him fly into the sky but kept failing for a long time. However, the pig kept trying new tactics until it worked.
Telling the kids about persistence helps them develop a positive mentality about failure. In addition, the beautiful illustrations come in handy to help them remember the story.
Eliminate learning anxiety from a child and show them love instead. Give them permission to freely make mistakes and watch as they boldly indulge in new activities without worrying about what will happen if they fail.
This gives them a chance to experiment with new problem-solving methods and take more risks, expanding their ability to handle tough challenges and become more creative.
It’s important to understand that you cannot fix intelligence in a child but can water it with effort and nurture its growth with time. Show your kids that you believe in them, and give them time to improve their effort and explore their maximum potential.
Children’s learning is more visual than verbal. In other words, they learn more from what they see than what you tell them.
If the occurrence is appropriate, let your child see you working on projects, making mistakes, correcting them, failing, and rising again. This gives them first-hand experience of tackling their challenges and understanding that everything doesn’t always have to turn out smoothly.
For instance, you can explain the interesting things you come up against as you work on a current project. This helps them understand that failure doesn’t translate to incapability or lack of intelligence but is essential to learning.
The brain is an impressive part of the human body with an impressive ability to grow. This organ changes and becomes stronger, depending on what you feed it.
By narrating this interesting fact to your kids, you open up their mindsets to keep growing as they practice what you helped them believe.
As they continue believing this, they grow empowered and do all they can to increase their brains’ strength.
For example, tell them to picture their brains as a powerhouse made up of very many small light bulbs. Every light bulb represents the task a child handles, and they light up with each accomplishment.
Tell them that a bulb represents dancing or another activity they like participating in, a mathematics light bulb, another one for cooking, playing games, and many others.
Encourage them that it may not be possible to have the light bulbs glowing simultaneously. Some will always shine brightly, while others might never get to light up, and that should not be a problem because we can’t do everything at once.
It is also challenging to be good at everything, explaining why some light bulbs may never glow.
Remind your kids that increased effort and practice are the only ways they can make the lightbulbs in their brains glow brighter. This strengthens their brains and makes it easier to achieve success.
When trying something new, the lightbulb connected to the activity glows dimly at the beginning, becoming stronger and brighter as the child practices more.
Diversification is an excellent way of initiating a growth mindset in learners.
Children’s minds can drift from one activity quickly. Using alternating teaching methods would efficiently capture their attention.
Additionally, it helps them understand that there are many ways to solve problems and reach their goals. You can incorporate traditional teaching methods (where a teacher stands in front of a class to teach) with group work, working in pairs or individually.
Initiate different learning projects that the children can handle independently, in pairs, or as a larger group. After gauging their progress, it’ll be easier for them to discard their fixed mindset and replace it with the growth mindset, embracing diversified learning.
You can use physical activities, games, video clips, and other learning methods to instill a strong growth mindset in them.
Build a stable communication platform on which the kindergarteners can express their fears, concerns, dreams, goals and ask questions without feeling anxious. Encourage them to approach you when in doubt or whenever they feel like sharing any issue with someone.
By asking questions or discussing their concerns, you can identify the areas that need changes and help them achieve that. You can also help them overcome their fears and learn the different techniques they can apply to solve an issue, developing a growth mindset from an early age.
Bottom Line in Implementing Growth Mindset to Kindergarten
With the 12 techniques outlined in this context, your students can easily develop a growth mindset as early as kindergarten and improve their efforts and abilities as they proceed.
Once you initiate the tactics for growth mindset to kindergarten, you will start recording changes in your students as they develop new skills, talents and get encouraged to embrace failure, mistakes, and new challenges.
Read more of our tips in introducing growth mindset to children:
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