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Building determination, grit and resilience in our students

Building determination, grit and resilience in our students

By St. Paul's SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) team

We held our first Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Parents’ Talk of 2023 on 1st of March. Our topic was how we can work together, school and families, to build determination, grit and resilience in our children and young people

Our SEL team provided parents with a reflection about what it means to be resilient and how we can teach this key trait to our children. Resilience is one of our St. Paul’s values, along with Responsibility, Aspiration, Adventure, Inclusion and above all Kindness. At school, we begin building resilience as soon as our youngest pupils join Pre-Prep School at three. We know and understand that learning to cope with setbacks is key to living happy and fulfilled lives.

We identified the following key takeaways for parents exploring how we can support children in this process of building resilience.

  1. Finding the balance between overprotection and freedom: We understand that with all that happens in our world, we want to protect our children from danger and distress. At the same time, we know we need to equip them to deal with challenges and obstacles. Freedom is what allows them to develop new skills, find their authentic selves and learn about their own reactions and remedies when tough things happen. It is important to find the balance between protection and freedom as it is our responsibility as educators and parents to help our children deal with challenges on their own.
  2. Trust the support the school provides: Our school environment allows children to learn through play.  Our teachers and assistants are trained to differentiate when to interfere with play and when to be a partner in play. Being a partner is important as it allows us to engage with children and observe them, allowing them to figure out resolutions on their own. Such problem-solving skills are a part of effective learning at St. Paul's. Our goal in school is to support children so they are able to transition from finding motivation in their teachers, parents and external rewards to finding motivation in themselves and discovering the self-drive to bounce back.
  3. The importance of resilience to mitigate risky behaviours: Building resilience is also important to prevent risky behaviors, such as teen pregnancy, substance abuse or anxiety and depression. A resilient child is less likely to engage in such behaviors as they can deal with pressure - both academic and from their home environment expectations - in healthier ways.

Above all, it is also important to remember that parents are not responsible for their kid’s happiness. Resilience means allowing kids to feel negative emotions and bounce back from that on their own. On that note, parents should also trust the support systems put in place for their children and believe in their ability to figure out the best solution for themselves.

Children learn best when they are happy and nurtured, which is why, at St. Paul’s, healthy emotional development is at the heart of everything we do.  


Click here to watch the video showed during the event.

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