At pre-service this year, MHS Staff participated in a brain stretching presentation on Growth Mindset as a charge to support school readiness. Growth Mindset, based on Carol Dweck’s research and book titled Mindset, explores the characteristics of what it means to have a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset.
A growth mindset means that we all believe that practice or hard work is what it takes to learn and do better whereas having a fixed mindset means we believe we are good at doing things because “I am smart”. Research shows that babies are born with a growth mindset but it is through their experiences and environment that they adopt a fixed mindset. At Head Start we want to foster our young learners to be intrinsically motivated, have a love for learning, and believe that they can do anything they want with practice and hard work. As teachers we will model and instill a growth mindset by offering praise and feedback that is focused on the child’s effort and process. For example, “you are working really hard to put one block on top of the other to build your tower” instead of simply saying “good job.”
To demonstrate a shift in mindset we set up an activity for staff to do with their classroom teams. Using a table cloth we asked the team to write on one side characteristics of a fixed mindset and on the bottom side of the cloth those characteristics of a growth mindset. Once the team of 5-8 members finished, they were to stand on the table cloth, fixed mindset characteristics side up. Next, without letting anyone fall off, they had to creatively come up with a way to flip the table cloth to the other “growth mindset” side. With good communication, planning and creativity all teams were able to successfully “flip their mindset.”
Marin Head Start is excited and charged for a new year. We move forward dedicated to practicing, learning and trying again to be the best Teacher/ Home Visitor, Family Advocate, Supervisor, Manager, Director we can be
—Kelsey Lombardi,Staff Support and Child Outcomes Manager,
Marin Head Start