Principal's Message

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Dear Edgemont Families,

It’s hard to believe it’s already November!  The year is moving so fast. Our students are growing, learning and continuing to improve their reading, writing, and mathematical skills.  In addition, we are seeing students increase their critical and creative thinking skills as they engage with science, engineering, and art projects and assignments.

I recently read an article about ideas for helping our children develop “grit” and perseverance, helping them push through when tasks or things feel difficult. I’ve included a blurb of the activities suggested we can easily do with kids, in this newsletter.  I found it very interesting and felt like it offered some good helps and ideas for us as parents.

We’re looking forward to Parent Conferences this week!  This is an excellent opportunity to touch base with your child’s teacher and share celebrations of your child’s learning, as well as concerns and questions you may have.  If you haven’t signed up yet, please check your email for the link and directions on how to sign up. If you didn’t receive the email, then please come to the front office and we can help you get signed up for your conference.

In this month of gratitude, please know how grateful I am for each of you and the support and love you have for your children.  I feel blessed to be at such a wonderful place, here at Edgemont Elementary, with people who support our school and do so many good things in our community. Thank you for all you do!

Harmony Kartchner, Principal

9 Activities to Build Grit and Resilience in Children

As parents, it’s natural to feel that we need to push problems out of our child’s way, but in the end our good intentions actually end up taking away an opportunity for them to learn how to solve problems.  In the article, “9 Activities to Build Grit and Resilience in Children,” the author Ashley Cullins, suggests the following activities to help us, as parents, help our children.

Help your child find purpose.  Studies show that children are motivated to succeed when they have a core purpose.  Discuss your child’s goals and purpose in life and talk about steps required to reach that goal.  They might have a goal to read 10 books by the end of the school year or to get at least 80% on their math tests.  Talk with them about what they need to do to achieve this goal and then support them along the way.

Encourage your child to conduct “grit interviews.” Give your child opportunities to learn from positive, “gritty” adults in their lives.  This can include grandparents, neighbors and other acquaintances who have worked hard toward a long term goal.  Also help kids understand that adults make mistakes too. For instance, you could share about how you forgot about a report that was due at work and how you handled that or what you did to get it done.  We all make mistakes and it’s important for kids to see that we can overcome when things feel hard or tough.

Share stories of Gritty Famous People. Children can learn from the stories of famous people.  Media often only shows us the end results of people’s hard work and dedication and we often don’t see the hours of practice behind the fame.  Stories like Michael Jordan not making his Varsity team and then practicing for hours until he was good enough. J.K. Rowling’s manuscript was rejected a dozen times before it was finally accepted. “Luck” is an illusion; success is about hard work and persistence toward something you’re passionate about.

Teach about grit through nature.  Show them a tree growing out of a rock, or animals who survive in harsh conditions.  Talk to them about the persistence and grit of that plant or animal and how they push through to survive and thrive. Somehow nature always finds a way!

Teach about grit through literature.  Share stories with your children like “The Little Engine that Could,” or “The Hugging Tree: A Story about Resilience.”  There are lots of stories and poems that tell stories about having grit and resilience that children can relate to.

Ask, “What’s the Hard Part?” When your child feels discouraged or tempted to give up, try asking them, “What’s the hard part?”  Once they identify it, repeat it back in your own words. This helps them break it down into manageable parts and as a parent you can know how to support them.

Follow the “Hard Thing” rule.  This rule says that everyone in the family has to do something hard (something that requires practice, that you’ll get feedback on how to get better, and you have to get right back in there and try again and again),  you have to finish what you start, and everyone gets to pick their own challenge. This could include playing a sport or an instrument, learning a new game or hobby, or anything that feels challenging.

Try the “Grit Pie” exercise. The pie represents the obstacle the child is facing.  Each slice of pie symbolizes a cause of the problem. For each slice the child analyzes if their thoughts about the problem are permanent (I’ll never be good at math) or temporary (my friend was talking too much and distracting me) and whether they blame themselves (I should have asked the teacher for help when I didn’t understand) or others (The teacher didn’t teach us this material!)  Help them understand that the temporary issues are just temporary and within their control. For the permanent feeling challenges, add the word “yet” to the end so it becomes, “I’m not good at math, yet.” This opens it up to growth and goal setting.

Share your passions. Inspire your children by talking to them about your hobbies and interests and how you practiced and worked at them until you got better and enjoyed them.  No one starts out knowing how to do something well at the beginning! Remember back when something you love now was hard and challenging and share that with your children. It’s encouraging to know that “grit,” one of the most important indicators of success, is entirely teachable! Keep at it and your children will see your example of grit and resilience and model it in their own lives.