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Growing Minds

How do we engage the minds of our youngest students? At Sycamore, we believe in the development of growth mindsets, which help to build gritty, empathetic, curious, and reflective learners.

From the first day of school, Kindergartners are thinking critically, taking action, collaborating, being adaptable, and living imaginatively. In time, they will be able to point to these mindset posters on our walls and share examples of how they use growth mindsets in their lives in and outside of school.


Thinking critically looks like making observations, asking questions, seeking answers. For our students, it’s about challenging their own mindsets and explaining their thinking.

Kindergartners began embracing the language of growth mindset when they transformed mistakes into something new! By explaining their thinking, they invited others to imagine their own creative ideas! Rather than feeling disappointed in mistakes they make, they say it can feel “good because when you make a mistake, you learn things that your class doesn’t teach you. You learn it on your own.”

Students take action when they are self-directed and attempt to solve problems that they notice.

We celebrate moments when Kindergartners challenge themselves to write all of the letters of the alphabet and use resources to find words to write correctly! Choices to be self-directed are recognized as valuable contributions to our community as a whole.

Taking action includes learning through failure. It’s not easy to follow colorful finger trails! Kindergartners struggled and tried again and again.

Collaboration is about sharing knowledge, valuing the opinions and expertise of others. Building and playing games are authentic opportunities for students to collaborate for a shared purpose! There is a lot they can learn from one another. Adopting a perspective that is open and curious about the ideas of others is essential to developing a growth mindset. We endeavor to work together every single day.

Kindergartners are collaborating by holding themselves and others accountable to the expectations they set for their community.

Being adaptable looks like taking on challenges with resilience and seeking feedback. One of the biggest challenges at the beginning of Kindergarten is journaling. Students write and draw regularly in their journals. When they are learning the relationship between sounds and letters, this is no simple feat. By creating a community where all students can access a challenge at their own interest and ability level, risk-taking becomes a natural part of their lives.

When students live imaginatively, they brighten our community with their creativity. Creative, curious, non-conforming thinkers make a difference. They inspire others by making connections and by celebrating the uniqueness that is in each of us.

The Sycamore School mindsets are competencies that we believe will help our students both in their day-to-day adventures and in their lives far into the future. By thinking critically, taking action, collaborating, being adaptable, and living imaginatively these kids will be able to tackle whatever challenges that the world throws at them.

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