Co-written by Sarah Ballard and Karen Weber, Kindergarten Teachers

World-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck, developed a simple idea that has made a gigantic difference in the way we teach our Kindergarten students at Harrisburg Academy.   Growth Mindset is the belief “that the most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work — brains and talent are just the starting point.”  We teach grit, resilience, dedication, and effort to create and nurture a lifelong love of learning in our students.  We want our students to realize control and ownership in their learning.  There are strategies they can learn, tools they can use, and goals they can set for themselves including planning the steps to reach those goals. Yes, even at age five!

Responsive Classroom®, our social learning framework, supports the development of a growth mindset.  It guides teachers in the creation and nurturing of a community of learners where children feel safe to share their learning and know that their academic and social learning needs will be met.

Here is some of our classroom language…

Instead of:

“This is too hard.”  SAY: “This is going to take some effort.”
“I messed up again.”  SAY: “I made a mistake and mistakes help me learn.  What can I do differently this time?”
“I’m no good at math/reading.”  SAY: “I am going to train my brain in math/reading.”
“Wow, this is easy for me!”  SAY: “I need to keep looking for a challenge so I learn more.”

Through these conversations, we will encourage our students to be open, to strategize, and to not be afraid to ask for help.  We know they will encounter academic and personal challenges on their journey, but by instilling this mindset, we want them to have the tools to persevere to meet their goals.  We want to give our students the tools to succeed, not just in Kindergarten, not just at Harrisburg Academy, but in their future careers and their efforts to make the world a better place!


Learn more about Harrisburg Academy on our school website.