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☰ I Can and I Will

Head's Blog

I Can and I Will

Posted on October 03 2019

Can I tie your shoe laces this time? Are you sure you don’t want me to cut out that picture? Leave that, I’ll do that for you! As parents, we ask our children lots of questions each day in the hope of avoiding mistakes, or being late out the house and because we want to build up their confidence. But here’s a question we should be asking ourselves instead: should I let my child fail?

It’s a rather scary concept. As parents, and as educators, we want to see our children succeed in everything they do, whether it’s full marks in a spelling test, making the swimming team or simply making a sandwich without smearing jam all over the kitchen (call me a big kid, but I do love a jam sandwich!). And often, we try to push our children toward success with constant reminders, pointers, advice and prodding. We quickly jump in to rescue them when we see a risk of failure, so that they don’t get hurt or suffer heartache. But, especially in the long term, is that more hurt than help?

All parents want to see their children succeed, but it’s just as important to teach them how to fail. That is something we cherish at Forest Park, preparing our pupils for failure as it helps them to succeed and foster a resilient character for the future. Failing can be reframed as trying, practicing, and putting in effort — and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. After all, it’s unrealistic to be good at everything on your first attempt, so we actively encourage numerous attempts utilising different methods instilling an ‘I Can and I Will’ attitude. Children who can’t tolerate failure are vulnerable to anxiety and it can lead to bigger problems when they do, inevitably, fail.

There is so much pressure placed on children today to be the best that it’s important that we, at Forest Park, let children know that failing will happen sometimes and that it is okay. In fact, it’s brave to try something new, knowing that it might not work out. Unfortunately, many of today’s pupils have received so much help from parents; be it with school projects or just basic life tasks that they become distraught over the most minor misstep. It’s important to remember that genuine self-confidence is created by being good at something, especially when it requires effort to get good at it. Shielding children from this process can create a fragile sense of self-worth.

This is why teaching a child to be resilient and rebound from a failure is so important. The ability to recover from a setback is one of the keys to a successful and happy life. Being resilient doesn’t necessarily mean thriving in the face of failure; rather, it’s the ability to pick yourself up and put one foot in front of the other and go again. It is not an inborn trait; it’s a combination of behaviours, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed.

Here are just some of the ways that we develop resilience and an ‘I Can and I Will’ attitude at Forest Park:

Perhaps the most important thing we encompass at Forest Park is an ethos to step back and let a child stumble. We all want to protect children, to shelter and comfort them, but it’s important to allow them to fail rather than swooping in and fixing the problem for them. There is an abundance of independent learning at our school, which enables personal growth, through failure, that enables every single child to flourish and achieve.

In the words of Winston Churchill ‘Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm

Nick Tucker

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