‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’ by Giles Andrede has long been a favourite book in our house. I made a story bag for it a couple of years ago, with a focus on music, and burnt a CD with tracks from cha-cha, rock and roll, a tango and a Scottish reel to match the story. Recently, though, I’ve realised the potential of the story for exploring Growth Mindset with young children.
Growth mindset is very popular in the world of education (both for children and adults) at the moment, and has links with mindfulness, productivity and similar ideas. Carol Dweck is the academic who wrote ‘Mindset’, the book which brought the concept to the public sphere.
In Giraffe’s Can’t Dance, Gerald’s inability to be graceful leads to others mocking his attempts, and him feeling sad and dejected. A cricket tells Gerald:
“Sometimes when you’re different, you just need a different song.”
Gerald begins to listen to what inspires him, away from the negative influence of the other animals, and creates his own way of dancing brings him joy; ultimately impressing the other animals.
Ideas for implementing ‘growth mindset’ at home:
-The power of ‘Yet’: Add ‘yet’ to any negative statements; ‘I can’t ….’ Becomes ‘I can’t …. yet’.
-Teaching key words such as ‘persevere’ and using them in conversation frequently.
-Praising children for effort and courage to try above outcome.
-Embracing mistakes; they are how we learn and improve.
-Check out my board ‘Growth Mindset’ board for more ideas I’ve gathered from Pinterest.