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the advantages of a multicultural classroom

Challenging Our Children: Nurturing Personal Growth Alongside Academics

Nurturing comes readily to caregivers, parents and teachers. It is an innate biological mindset to care for the young, and make sure their basic needs are met. Passing on life skills we have learned in our own lives through our experiences with caregivers, onto our own children and students.

Challenging our children academically also comes naturally to educators. We set higher expectations for budding writers to add more details and sentence types to their essays. We provide more difficult math problems to those that go beyond grade level expectation. But there is a whole other angle to challenge that is far more important than academic growth and what can be set up in classrooms, and that is personal growth. This is the growth of one's life skills, which can include many aspects such as  emotional intelligence, self awareness, communication, problem solving, empathy, etc. These skills are much more relevant in being able to navigate life and its many twists and turns.

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As parents and educators, it is key to have children embrace challenges they may come across academically or otherwise to build on these life skills. Here are some pointers on how to work through such opportunities.


  • Set a good example: Model healthy ways to deal with stress or challenges. Speak through how you can manage a difficult situation.
  • Expose children/ students to appropriate levels of challenge: Help children learn how to deal with challenges and stress by providing opportunities that are achievable but not too easy or too difficult. If a challenge is too easy, it does nothing to promote self-growth. However if it’s too difficult, it may hinder self growth.
  • Be your child/ students’ stress buffer: Children (and adults) all need this - someone that we trust and can help us cope through rough times is also an important piece when going through challenges. It gives us an opportunity to recharge and try again.
  • Allow and promote risk taking: It is tempting to protect a child from any risks for fear of getting hurt and feeling pain. However this only hampers their personal development and learning how to maneuver and problem solve through difficult situations.
  • Allow children to manage their own stress: Each person’s capacity to deal with stress and difficulties is different, and that goes for children as well. Provide them with strategies that may work for them, but also allow them to discover their own personal ways.
  • Teach your child a “growth mindset: When we engage in challenges, we have the opportunity to take risks, learn to fail, and figure out how to pick ourselves up again to persevere through struggle. Help your child understand that it's okay to fail and understand that is the time when we learn the most.

With these points in mind, we hope to continue to embody our mission of the school in challenging our students, and we aim to do so with collaboration between home and school.