Monday, November 24, 2014

Rigor and Resiliency

The forest fosters a "can do" belief system.
Representation, relationship, research, reflection and rigor.   
 These five words drive our decisions as educators and are the lens through which we view our classrooms.  In early blogs we considered the ideas of representation, reflection and relationship.                                                                                   
 I have been thinking about the word rigor. In Kindergarten, this word means persistence and resiliency. As an educator and a parent, there is a perplexity and reverence surrounding both words. When a child bumps up against something hard, untenable and outside their immediate reach how do they react?  Supporting children to be resilient and persistent in Kindergarten provides the fuel to stick with goals and intention that are rigorous as they grow older. These are not traits but rather deep resources that students tap when they are pursuing intentions or surviving adversity.

Research tells us that relationships, high expectations and opportunity to participate and contribute are necessary for students to move forward and persist. In the classroom, educators can shape resiliency through their approach rather than the curriculum. We can work with a child's strengths as they identify the gaps and problems and then outline incremental steps to solve the problems and close the gaps. We can influence their perspective to view these problems as opportunities to grow. 

Cultivating curiosity and imagination within children provides the inspiration and motivation for learning and striving for answers.

The ability to listen to others and communicate ideas connects children to their peers and community. Children acquire patience as they wait for others to find their voice. They develop empathy for others and begin to perceive the world as others see it.

Kindergartners are asked to take initiative. How can you discover the answer to your question? What resources are available to you? How can you assert your independence and solve a problem that you are encountering?

Is this a tepee or a lean-to? It was a hot debate between the boys building the structure. We all checked in and listened to each others perspective. The boys are learning to lead through influence. 

Collaborating demands that children adapt and remain open to change. If problems arise then assumptions need to tested and reviewed critically. Options need to be analysed. 

It is always hard to avoid the Happiness Trap with our children. I try to keep the idea that childhood is a journey not a race...slow, steady and consistent. It is a process that may not have immediate results. The seeds we sow now may not be reaped for years. 

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful blog. I like to think of rigor and resilience in terms of a child's capacity to keep reaching, even if reaching sometimes means falling. I love this quote from Benjamin Franklin about just that: "Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out." I have watched the kindergartners in the forest as they learn to walk along a fallen limb. In the middle of the walk, they need to let go of one branch and reach out - untethered for a moment - to the next. Sometimes they fall, and have to begin again. Eventually they learn to teeter for a second or two in disequilibrium, and then they can reach out to grab the next branch.