Transitions are a fact of life at international schools. Largely comprised of globally mobile families, each new school year sees the school segmented into the "goers", the "stayers", and the "newbies". Each group faces its own set of opportunities and challenges. Yesterday's Parents' Association Leadership Coffee Evening gave ICS parents information and tools to help their children become resilient to the frequent changes that accompany international schooling. During an interactive workshop, the ICS Leadership Team and School Counsellors showed how these changes can help children grow and learn skills that are highly useful in other situations in their lives.
They started by discussing the extensive support network that ICS provides families, and introduced the new Transitions booklet that overviews these programmes. The Counsellors then illustrated three techniques for helping children build resilience to change: using positive psychology; adopting a growth mindset; and mindfulness.
A positive psychology involves focusing on positive traits. Often children focus on what they cannot do. But having a positive psychology is more than broad statements such as "I am good at math." Instead, it is about helping the child focus on very specific positive traits like "I can be calm"; "I am respectful"; "I care about others"; "I am curious"; "I am a good friend".
A growth mindset teaches that intelligence and talent can always be developed in any area, no matter the strength or weakness of a person's current ability. Children who have learned to develop a growth mindset are more likely to choose challenging tasks, take creative risks, and focus on a journey of continual improvement.
Mindfulness teaches students how to be calm, clear and focused in the face of stress or worry. Taught extensively at ICS, mindfulness helps children strengthen their attention and concentration and recover more quickly from disappointment and irritability.
Attendees at the workshop left with newfound appreciation for what it takes to create resiliency, and a new set of tools to support their children. Those who could not attend can keep an eye out for future ICS publications and workshops—transitions and resiliency are an important topic and we address them on a continual basis.