Defining the Concept of “Yet” for Preschool
When the Beginnings at MFS and Lower School faculty at Moorestown Friends School gathered for opening meetings in August to prepare for the school year, Third Grade Teacher Ted Quinn shared a professional development experience about Growth Mindset, part of Dr. Carol Dweck’s research on mindset and resilience in students. One of the profound takeaways Ted shared was the concept of “Yet”– the idea that a gap in our knowledge or performance can be understood as something that we have not accomplished “Yet.” I believe that the concept of “Yet” is an important one as we think about the children in our Moorestown preschool.
As parents and educators of preschool students, we want to foster resilience in children. We celebrate them as they overcome difficult situations. We support their drive to meet obstacles head on, to tackle new challenges, and to be creative and innovative thinkers. Resilience and inner drive are values which we often promote in our children; I certainly do in my preschool classroom.
Valuing the Present with the Concept of “Yet”
There are many forces which can lead us to identify supposed deficits in preschool children. Learning standards such as letters and numbers, physical growth, and emotional development can, at times, have us looking at children and thinking about what they are not able to do. I find that people often look towards the future, defining each stage of childhood in terms of how it prepares students for what comes next. If we are always looking ahead, we can easily forget to value the present. I urge us to remember the word “Yet.”
While it may seem paradoxical, “Yet” empowers us to remain more in the present. We can see learning as a journey, where every experience contributes to growth. Therefore, we value the experiences of the present, knowing that they are a part of a journey of growth and discovery. We remember to celebrate the accomplishments of our preschool students, to marvel at their abilities, and to listen to the very complex connections that they are making in their lives.
The Concept of “Yet” as Powerful Mindset for Preschool Students
Growth Mindset has been a positive force in my classroom in the way that it has empowered my children. We have supported them with the word “Yet,” using it frequently and intentionally. If they come to me frustrated, I am able to say, “You tried, and it didn’t work ‘yet.’” This small word has helped my children feel that they are able to persevere, to try again, and that they can accomplish their goals. I have seen my children grow in independence and resilience this year. It was heartwarming to hear a child reflect on his writing, saying “I don’t know how to write that letter yet.” Embedded in that small word is a personal acknowledgment of current abilities and of something to grow towards, which will most certainly be accomplished in the future.
The concept of “Yet” has been a powerful reminder for me this year at MFS. It has been an attitude of our Beginnings Program as well as throughout the Lower School. You can read more and watch videos about the Growth Mindset on the Mindset Works website.
Stay tuned next week for some more concepts and strategies from our Moorestown Preschool program.
Beginnings at MFS is the Moorestown Friends School Early Childhood Program (Preschool, Prekindergarten, and Kindergarten). The Beginnings Blog is intended as a helpful tool for parents and guardians of young children, examining important ways in which children find meaning, in their lives and in their education.
Author Garrett McVaugh is the Beginnings at MFS Half-Day Preschool Teacher. Along with his Teaching Assistant Pauline Williams, he guides some of the youngest MFS students through their first year of school. A graduate of Haverford College, Garrett has been an early childhood educator for over a decade. Prior to MFS, he was a teacher at Preschool of the Arts in Madison, WI. Prior to living in Wisconsin, Garrett spent eight years teaching at St. John’s Episcopal Preschool in Washington, DC.
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