Building Resilience in Young Children
Building resilience in young children is important as it helps to overcome obstacles and provides the ability to overcome challenges.
“Having the strength and resilience to try again is an important skill we need to nurture in young children.” – Jayneen Sanders, Author and Teacher
Educators and families play an important role in building resilience in young children. Children are more likely to be resilient when there is positive support from the people around them.
As an early childhood educator, one of the key principles and strategies in building children’s resilience is establishing a positive, safe and supportive environment. Once the children feel safe and secure they feel a greater sense of belonging and, in turn, feel confident to engage in and take on new challenges.
“A sense of connectedness or belonging to a school is a significant protective factor for young people and contributed to building their resilience” – Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
In the St Catherine’s Early Learning Centre, you will often find educators encouraging children to solve their own problems, modeling coping strategies and encourage children’s independence and autonomy to make meaningful decisions.
It is through play where young children take risks, learn to problem solve, make mistakes, face challenges and learn to share their thoughts and ideas. An important aspect in building children’s resilience is providing opportunities for children to take ‘healthy risks’ in their play. ‘Healthy’ risk-taking is not only about children taking on physical challenges, but about the risk of making mistakes, and then being able to overcome the disappointment and move forward.
The Early Years Learning Framework stipulates that children need to “develop their emerging autonomy, interdependence, resilience and sense of agency”. Educators also engage in dialogue with young children about what it means to be resilient, persistent and to persevere. We often ask children questions to build on this dialogue such as, ‘What is something brave you have done today? When do you feel proud of yourself? If you cannot do something, what do you usually do?’
Promoting a positive, supportive and encouraging environment where young children feel comfortable to ask for help, take considered risks and be able to voice their ideas, is imperative in working towards building young children’s resilience.