Resilience : exploring ideas with children in Years 2 and 5

In this School the Centre worked with three Year 2 classes and  two Year 5 classes. In Year 5 the Centre repeated the activities outlined in the blog entry date 13th February however the focus then moved on to coaching.

In the three Year 2 classes 3 different activities were developed to engage the children in aspects of resilience. The focus was on:

  • recognising and acknowledging the importance of both negative and positive emotions on learning, (Capture emotions)
  • the need for ‘calmness and reflection’ as part of the learning journey, (Pause and Mindfulness)
  • the need to reengage, refocus and/or redirect learning. (Reengage, Refocus, or Redirect)

Three ‘challenging’ activities were used to engage the children in learning.

  1. Reflection
  2. The swamp
  3. Spy

There needed to be a degree of ‘impossibility’ otherwise you can not address the notion of resilience.

Reflection : The children did find the 1st activity relatively easy however this did create a greater opportunity to explore the three elements outlined above (Capture, Pause and Redirect) The children were able to explore both the negative and positive emotions linked with learning and we were able to talk about how there is a need to recognise the negative emotions such as ‘embarrassed, angry and frustrated’  and that it was OK to feel like this. However, we were also able to explore how these emotions did not help with future learning and that the 1 2 3  strategy could then be used to ‘power up your brain’.

The Swamp : The children were very engaged with the Swamp activity. A number of the children did not carefully read the instructions and therefore thought they had completed the task until it was pointed out to them they had not. The first and second challenges are relatively easy, however task three onwards needs children to think in a slightly different way. During the session we stopped several times and focussed on the third element which is to refocus, reengage  or redirect learning. The children found it difficult to move away from the ‘trial and effort’ method and rethink a way forward.

Spy : The children again were very engaged with the Spy activity. In terms of success this was probably the most successful in that it allowed greater time to explore some of the three key elements. Children were able to think of many different strategies that might enable them to be more successful. If more time had been available we would have talked about a grid method, working from left to right, using colours ect. In addition the way the children worked collaborative was very positive. 

‘A small example of what I was looking for was when one of the children came back from the box and had forgotten what she had seen. Obviously she felt upset so; we are able to recognise and acknowledge the child’s emotions, take time out to calm down (123) and then think of a strategy that she might use the next time she visited the box.’ The next visit was a success.

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