Parents as Educators – Mindset is Everything

We recently published tips and tricks for parents to make online learning work for you and your family in the Katikati Advertisers newsletter. You can read the full article below.

Parents as Educators – Mindset Is Everything

Donna McDonald – Junior Room Teacher at Matahui School

Practical advice from educators at Matahui School as we reflect on home learning over the past 3-4 weeks.  

During lockdown many parents were feeling the pressure. Breadwinner, caregiver, chef/cook, cleaner, enforcer and all things in between.  Add teachers/educators to this list! That’s a lot of roles to play and it’s been even harder for working parents and business owners. The teachers at Matahui School have learned a few things over this and last the lockdowns and want to share a few practical tips parents can use to bolster their educating skillset. 

  1. Modelling a problem solving mindset.  We’ve all had to do a fair bit of problem solving lately. As parents or teachers, we can’t always be there to solve every problem for our children. In fact, this isn’t our job. Our job is to TEACH our children how to solve problems by themselves. This way, they can become confident, independent, and successful individuals.  When YOU encounter a challenge, do a “think-aloud” for the benefit of your child. MODEL how to apply the same problem-solving skills you’ve been working on together, giving the real-world examples that she can implement in her own life.  At the same time, show your child a willingness to make mistakes. Everyone encounters problems, and that’s okay. Sometimes the first solution you try won’t work, and that’s okay too!  When you model problem-solving, explain that there are some things which are out of our control. As we’re solving a problem at hand we should focus on the things we CAN actually control.  Naturally, these abilities go hand-in-hand with a growth mindset.

Matahui School has a proud tradition of instilling problem solving skills – our senior class recently won the EPro8 science and engineering competition where their problem solving where put to the test against other schools in the Bay of Plenty Region.

  1. The mind is powerful and your mindset shades the way you see the world 

We’ve all heard the saying “Whether you think you can or can’t – you’re right!”.   This is important to Mrs McDonald, junior Teacher at Matahui School.   “This term we’re focussing on building a “growth mindset” and using the power of the word “yet”.  “If your child says, ‘I can’t do this’, we add the word ‘I can’t do this yet’ to build self confidence”, says Mrs McDonald.  The word “yet” can change disparaging sentences into positive ones, promoting growth.  This linguistic trick works especially well with sentences that include “can’t” or “don’t,” because it reverses the negative connotation.

What’s happening in the Junior School at Matahui this term? 

This term’s inquiry project is all about “Light”.  Where does it come from? What is light? How do light sources work? What is energy?  Who would have guessed that 5-7-year-olds would be so interested in physics, astrology and electricity – budding scientists in the making who thirst for more knowledge – they really are developing a love of learning through their own inquiry.  

Next week we’ll cover the importance of play in learning and how you can encourage a love of learning in your children.
For more tips or to find out more about Matahui School – visit our website www.matahui.school.nz or visit our facebook page here

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