Building a Resilient Child

31 October 2014

At Wednesday night’s New Parents dinner, I talked about some recent research into what were the dispositions we should as parents and as teachers being working to create in our girls. Those who work in the  area of  student emotional development such as Krause  and McEwen  have identified a number of key factors for  building a resilient child.

 

Resilience comes from a child having:

 

- A sense of meaning and purpose in her life.

 

- Optimism.

 

- Persistence and grit.

 

- Emotional balance and a range of strategies to deal with problems.

 

- Ability to see difficulty as a problem that can be resolved, worked on, changes or endured through flexible thinking  and by reframing the problem.

 

- Sense of self esteem  which allows her to deal with obstacles.

(Source: In  Alliance Magazine).

 

We would add a little more to that list. It is critical that girls learn from an early age about:

 

- the power of service.

 

- the need to be active.

 

- the value of being present in the moment.

 

- How do we make this real?

 

We do this by advocating and building a personalised learning approach, with small learning groups and with strong support networks, through  home rooms and tutor groups and the pastoral care teams. This creates emotional balance and strategies.

 

In the classroom students are taught strategies about how to approach those spelling words, that English essay or chemistry equation; online they can go back again and revisit that learning, encouraging them to see difficulty as a problem that can be resolved,  largely through persistence and grit.

 

 

We work to encourage every girl  in developing all dimensions. Sport, performing arts, cultural group all work to involved girls so that they can be active. They  are very valuable  places for kids to learn the lessons of success and of failure, and to develop qualities of persistence and grit.

 

 

Give to others is a core College belief expressed through our Values programme and we see this in so many aspects of the girls’ lives at school.

 

We know that teachers make the difference and that the girls’ world is based on positive  relationships. We encourage our teachers  to:

-        Show interest in students’ lives – encourage optimism and earned self esteem

-        Encourage struggle – confirm problems can be resolved

-        Never give up on them –  give them opportunities to practice persistence and grit

-        Act in a friendly way – be present in the moment

 

Out of these experiences come the dispositions which create resilience and on which happy and successful lives can be based.