There’s more than just reading, writing and math being taught in school these days. Teachers are also ensuring that students are learning how to be respectful learners and to persevere through challenging situations.  This character education is brought to them through monthly assemblies and reinforced in the classroom, in the halls and on the playground on a regular basis.

Elementary guidance counselor, Connie Cotrone, has been introducing the family of Superflex heroes to the students at Hawthorne throughout the year.  Superflex and his friends give students strategies to promote self-regulation and help them overcome mental obstacles. The lessons encourage children to use flexible thinking to solve social and emotional problems.

The theme presented in February’s assembly was determination. Mrs. Cotrone highlighted the benefit of not giving up even when feeling frustrated.  She talked about Superflex’s best friend, Growing Greta. Growing Greta represents a growth mindset, a believe that you can get smarter by trying and learning new things.  While the students might not understand the term “growth mindset”, they all related to the idea that it takes time and patience for things to grow… trees, babies, and even the brain!

A related concept she introduced was “The Power of YET”.   When the simple word “yet” is added to the end of a sentence, it can have the power to change a student’s perspective.  Instead of a frustrated child giving up and saying “I don’t understand math”, adding yet to the end of the sentence might encourage them to keep trying: “I don’t understand math yet (but will if I keep trying).”

Children as young as kindergarten can understand and internalize the message of being a flexible thinker. Giving them tools from an early age to become better problem solvers sets them up for success in school and beyond.