- We offer the children tasks that are just a little beyond their current ability level, then expect them to practice, practice, practice to reach mastery.
- We view mistakes and failed experiments as opportunities for growth. Rather than criticize our children at those moments, we focus on what is learned from the fail and move toward another attempt.
- We don’t praise the child (you are beautiful/smart/talented), we praise the effort (you worked hard, you took great care).
- We talk specifics with children (when you cleaned up your lunch there wasn’t a single crumb left) rather than generalities (you were awesome at clean up) and sprinkle on gratitude when appropriate (I really appreciate this clean work space).
- We encourage children to seek out help from peers in the community, to get friendly with finding ways to tackle their challenges instead of hiding them.
- With our older students, we share directly about growth mindset vs. fixed mindset and discuss how to nurture one’s own growth mindset.
- We help scaffold the child’s perseverance: offering tasks with ever-increasing steps from beginning to end, and supporting the child to finish a task she’s started even when the going gets tough.
- When a child complains about a difficult task or difficult social situation, we empathize but we don’t fix it for them. We draw out their ideas for what they could try next as they problem-solve and develop their skills.
- We allow the children to see us in moments of difficulty and imperfection, modeling a growth mindset. "I'm trying to repair this drying rack, but so far I'm unsuccessful. I feel frustrated and disappointed so I'll take a break and then try again with a new idea. Maybe I'll ask a friend for advice."
- We nurture a voracious appetite for learning and doing what you love rather than an external stamp of approval.
Merri Baehr Whipps, Assistant Program Director
Childpeace Montessori School