Head of Primary
When sailing you can’t control the wind or waves but we can adjust our sail to use the wind.
Thomas S Monson
Abraham Lincoln received no more than five years of formal education throughout his lifetime. He joined politics and had 12 major failures before he was elected the 16th President of the United States of America.
J.K. Rowling’s first book was rejected by 20 different publishers. She is now internationally renowned for her seven book series. After very humble beginnings, she is the first person to become a billionaire from writing.
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas.’
What do all these people have in common?
In order for our students to succeed, resilience is key. Drawing on research by Stanford University’s Dr Carol Dweck, resilience helps girls to persist when challenged. Dweck’s research identifies two kinds of mindsets: fixed mindset and growth mindset. Girls with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are static and cannot be changed with effort; girls with a growth mindset believe that their abilities can be expanded through hard work. Grit or the ability to persevere in the face of challenge is twice the predictor of success in life than IQ. It illustrates the importance of hard work and how effort can change the brain providing the motivation for meaningful engagement in learning and mental toughness when things become difficult.
Research shows that girls who enjoy authentic, engaged, empowering relationships with adults, peers and mentors have lower levels of stress and higher levels of achievement. A strong community provides a sense of belonging and connectedness where every girl is known and valued which is so important to a student’s development. An environment such as this allows girls the opportunity to take risks with their learning to enable them to achieve their personal potential and flourish.
Students benefit when they contribute to the world beyond themselves. We emphasize the wide variety of valuable contributions girls can make, and we pair example with opportunity through projects that allow girls to have a positive impact on the broader community. Strengthening student voices and increasing their empowerment by having them devise meaningful projects that contribute to making a difference in the lives of others provides a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.
A study conducted by Dr Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, reveals that cultivating gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25 per cent. It can also cause individuals to live happier, more satisfied lives and enjoy increased levels of self-esteem, hope, empathy and optimism. Other studies have shown that students who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and family. By ‘catching the good stuff’ in a Blessings journal you are more likely to notice the good things in life. This exercise harnesses the neuroplasticity of the brain, that is, its ability to grow and change throughout our lives.
Peppered through life there will be curve balls, surprises and blindsides. Not all of them are good, not all of them are bad. These are the hills and dales of life. If we can equip our girls with the necessary skills such as flexibility of mind, resilience, a strong sense of self, optimism, a sense of purpose and meaning in life, they will be ready to take their place in the world as strong, independent women of faith who will be willing to make their mark on the world.
Mrs Maryanne Dwyer
Head of Primary