A “Can Do” child is one who approaches tasks pro-actively. A child who is confident in her ability to succeed. A “Can Do” child possesses perseverance, resilience, and innovation. He builds a BETTER sand castle after the first collapses, writes previously-erred spelling words correctly until they are mastered, turns an empty tissue box into a treasure chest on a long car trip. All with self-initiation.
Studies on “Can Do” increasingly confirm what parents, educators, and psychologists experience intuitively: ranking above talent and IQ, the number one leading indicator of success in school is GRIT: Perseverance and passion for the achievement of goals.
We all know folks who are extraordinarily bright and skilled but appear to rarely accomplish anything. Conversely, there are those we experience as go-getters with boundless enthusiasm who constantly knock off one project after another, many times despite a seeming dearth of resources. “Can do” folks have passion, strength, and focus. Their purposeful actions support and challenge them.
For the last 14 years Angela Lee Ducksworth has been studying GRIT at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to a statistically proven significance of “Can do” for success and achievement, the idea of how GRIT can be accessed, ignited, and fostered in children is being explored.
I argue that Maria Montessori had similar questions regarding children, learning, and achievement over 100 years ago and her findings led to a curriculum which has proven effectual in time-honored fashion.
Montessori utilizes a hands-on, discovery-driven model of education within which children become fully engaged in their work and apply themselves in a passionate manner. They manipulate their lesson materials directly. A child’s purposeful practice is encouraged within long stretches of uninterrupted time. The classroom is an environment of inquiry and creativity. Classmates and teachers alike are learning peers. Each is involved in the process of acquiring knowledge and evolving proficient skills.
If you haven’t already, I suggest you experience a Montessori classroom personally. Schedule a tour of Hudson Country Montessori School and arrange a visit. They’d love to show you their GRIT!