(BPT) - You packed the backpack. The school bus is waiting outside. Don’t forget the one thing your child needs in the classroom this year: confidence.
While many kids feel excited to see friends and return to routine, a new school year also brings new material and subjects to learn, with more advanced assignments. A study from LEGO Education found that 51% of students are nervous about trying new things, which means students may be nervous about a lot more than what to wear or who to sit with at lunch.
As a parent, you want your student to be a confident learner and ready to tackle the new school year ahead, so how can you help? Esben Stærk Jørgensen, president of LEGO Education, shares five tips for parents that work well to help their children become more confident learners this school year.
1) Get them hands-on: Over 90% of teachers agree that hands-on learning builds students’ confidence and encourages them to learn new things, and students say they tend to remember topics longer when they learn through hands-on projects. Yet few schools make time for it regularly. Ask your child's school what they're doing to promote hands-on learning and use your voice to advocate for more hands-on learning in your child’s classroom. With a variety of hands-on learning solutions and lesson plans that are designed and aligned with standards, your student can get the best of both.
2) Sign up for STEAM and robotics teams: Similar to team sports, afterschool STEAM or robotics programs can be a great way to help students build confidence and camaraderie, while also developing their skills for the jobs of the future. There are various STEAM and robotics teams around the world that give kids from kindergarten through high school the opportunity to work in teams, learn to code and even compete in national competitions. With a real-world STEAM problem to solve, these afterschool programs teach technical and academic skills, as well as critical soft skills that kids will need throughout their lives. Find a program near you or get involved and start your own team as a coach or mentor.
3) Help them find the meaning in failure: The idea of “failing fast” to innovate is well-known in the business world, but in education we often still hear failure as a negative word — in fact, 47% of students avoid subjects where they have failed before. Yet 90% of teachers agree that students need to learn to fail to become more confident and succeed in school. Everyone makes mistakes, but it becomes meaningful when we reflect and learn from it. By seeing the opportunity rather than the negative, you can help your kids view failure as a process not an endpoint. Try asking what your child learned or how they'd try it again. Or share an experience of your own when you failed and how your confidence helped you overcome a challenge.
4) Don’t be a fixer for everything: When kids face a roadblock, such as a math problem they can’t solve, parents naturally want to jump in and find a solution. Only 57% of parents globally say they let their child fail before intervening. Instead, let your child try it for themselves first, which helps them develop real-world skills like creative thinking and effective communications, in addition to new academic skills. These are crucial learnings that will follow them beyond childhood.
5) Stay connected and involved: This looks different for every family, but there are many ways parents can be involved in their child’s learning, so don't be afraid to jump in and see what works. Whether you volunteer, attend PTA meetings or ask your child open-ended questions about what they’re learning, parent engagement can play a key role in supporting learning inside and outside the classroom. While it’s easy to focus on the grade or result, it’s important to help your child feel confident regardless of the outcome, knowing they are supported along the way and are equipped with the skills they need.
If you'd like to learn more about LEGO Education or how to help your child become a more confident learner, check out education.lego.com.