Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Kindergarten lesson: It is OK to not know everything

Kindergarten. It is a new world of learning and adventure. Amelia has attended her new public school kindergarten for ten days now, and she is not the only one learning. I am fascinated by the subjects they are discussing and the extremely well-rounded curriculum. Science lab, Career, Fitness, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), art, music, reading, writing.... she seems so much more grown up already.

I also learned that my child has a difficult time when she doesn't ace everything. Last Friday was a bit of a jolt to her image of herself. Until then, academics came somewhat easy to her. She had tremendous pride in her abilities with beginning reading, writing, and problem solving. However, on Friday, she learned that she must print her letters starting at the top. (Apparently most kids start letters initially at the bottom, and have to re-learn how to print them the proper way).

My child came home in tears because she "did something wrong". All of a sudden, her world changed. She did not know everything! She was going to have to work and practice at something to get it right. Unfortunately, she took this news very personally and turned the blame on herself.

There have been several articles recently about how we should stop telling kids they are "smart". I don't necessarily agree with this in its entirety. I do tell Amelia she is smart - because she has the ability to learn anything if she works at it. She has absolute and never-ending potential, but she must be a hard worker as well. So she and I discussed her most recent crisis, and she is now beginning to accept that school may be difficult; that there will certainly be things she does not know, things that she may even get wrong a few times. I did my best to reassure her that she has plenty of time to master the subjects. And above all else, I made sure she understood that Mommy and Daddy (and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and even teachers) believe in her with the power of all of our hearts and brains combined.

She is powerful. She IS smart. As long as she believes in herself, she will get wherever she needs to be.

We are only in kindergarten!
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