If we are to engage the mind, it helps to engage the heart. I will say it over and over again: Developing relationships with children brings about greater learning. Touching the heart and giving unconditional love provides an environment that supports risk taking. An environment built on relationship helps children deal with defeat, frustration, and loss. Though we want to say that learning is fun, and we want teachers to “engage” children, we sometimes forget that learning is also challenging, at times difficult, and can lead us in the direction of wanting to give up.
There is a new term in education – growth mindset. In my thinking, growth mindset acknowledges that learning is not always easy and fun. It helps us understand that there will be tough times. But it also helps children know that we are growing. Though we don’t know it yet, as we work and learn – we will begin to understand certain concepts and our mind will “grow.”
Whatever we learn - whether it be music, art, sports… - we will have to work at becoming better at these things. It is not always fun and games. If we want to be better it means practice and work, even if we have passion. Have you ever heard the phrase – Hard work wins over talent every time? This doesn’t mean we don’t try to create an environment of exploration and discovery. It simply means that we help kids understand that learning doesn’t always come easily, and that skill development is necessary in order to be successful.
Deepening faith also goes along with the “growth mindset.” As one learns and grows they begin to have more faith in their own ability and skills. They become less afraid to try new things and learn.
Deeping faith, for York, means we also develop the whole child – we develop the spiritual care and thinking of children. We will be accepting all religions, and will not discriminate on the basis of religion. This kind of faith brings about hope and faith beyond oneself. It also teaches us to serve and uplift others. This faith accepts inadequacies and gives meaning to growing in our earthly life.
One of our goals: To engage the minds of children through relationships and to deepen their faith in a way that gives hope and assurance.