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Gillispie School / Early Childhood  / How to Raise a Problem Solver

How to Raise a Problem Solver

In a recent Real Simple article, “How to Raise a Problem-Solver,” writer Joanne Nesbit quotes a CEO of a cloud-based, reference-checking firm: “Young people’s ability to get things done on their own and take initiative is one of the biggest employer concerns.” Ms. Nesbit went on to advise how we can help children build these critical skills.

Her ideas included allowing for open-ended, loosely-supervised play; providing opportunities for children to complete real-life tasks; asking our young ones questions that show we believe in their ability to solve problems; and finally, our “letting go of perfect” as the adults in their lives.

Striking to me were the similarities between this advice and the written reflections from Grade 5 students who participated in FFCC’s Fight for Hunger. They, along with Grade 4 students, received training by FFCC and, in turn, trained participants in their various roles at the actual event. As capable leaders, they were making a positive difference in facing a real-world problem and learning the importance of collaboration.

  • “I felt helpful and there was more joy in my heart.”
  • “It was cool because we were kind of in charge, and it felt good to help so many people. I learned that teamwork is important.”
  • “It was super fun!! The event not only helped people in need, but also taught leadership, teamwork, and communication.”
  • “I feel that even though I am one person, I can make a change in the world.”
  • “I think we should do it again. I had a great time. I learned that some people are leaders and others are not. A lot of people were fast and good at talking to each other, and so many people were nice.”

So, here’s to providing more opportunities, great and small, at school and home, that help our students become ethical and courageous problem solvers!

Alison Fleming
Head of School

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