Resilience skills set children up for life
Inspiring resilience in children is a priority at Goodstart Kingsley as educators focus on praising effort and persistence, encouraging collaboration between children and role modelling flexibility.
Early Childhood Teacher Sue Leach said resilience was a learned skill that children gained through trial and error, and the early years were the perfect time for them to learn.
Resilience is the built-in capacity to deal with setbacks or disappointment.
“Resilience is just so important for children to learn, because once they get out into the big world, they will be no one closer to them than we are here in the early years,” she said.
“If they fall over, we are here beside them to offer them help, if they drop their pencil, we are here to help them pick it up; and we are here to model how to try again and again and again until they master it.”
“We will always give lots of praise for effort and then we pick one thing that they have done really, really well and we will focus on that,” she said.
Ms Leach said she often used role modelling as a tool to demonstrate resilience.
“I will ask the older children to mentor and help the younger children, so if we have a two and a half year old struggling with scissors at the art table,I will ask one of the five year olds to help them,” she said.
“For example if Alex is learning to write his surname and he can’t quite get the G right then I will ask an older child to show him and help him master it.
“And in doing this I find that everyone benefits- Alex is really proud because he has achieved what he wanted to achieve and the other child is proud that that they could help.”
Being flexible to the needs of each day and changing plans and routines as needed, was another way staff within the service role modelled resilience.
“We also talk to the children a lot and when they say they can’t do something our response is always, ‘let’s see if you can try’,” she said.
“So if someone falls off the beam we would make sure they were okay, and then talk about what they learned from that experience. If they can make these mistakes and then learn from them, the payback is well worth it.”
Greg Antcliff, national manager professional practice at Goodstart Early Learning, said praise was a valuable strategy to promote positive behaviours, self-efficacy and foster resilience in children.
He said key to giving praise was developing an understanding of the three types of praise and the function of each. These include descriptive praise, praise for effort and persistence and trait-based praise.
Within the home parents could help boost their child’s resilience by following their lead, which builds self-esteem and confidence, said Mr Antcliff.