At The Gratitude Garden we believe that while young children’s sense of self is developing, so is their ability to create positive self-talk, a positive self-image, and with early training — a grateful perspective.
Gratitude is woven in throughout the day providing opportunities for students to share the little things that make life enjoyable. Learning to appreciate the people and circumstances that enhance life has been shown to develop more optimistic and resilient attitudes in children.
Children with a grateful perspective experience:
Less negative emotions
Bounce back quicker from adversity
Report feeling better connected to school and family
Higher levels of well-being
Cultivating a grateful perspective also has a direct relationship on learning; as our brain is more productive in a positive state than at a negative, neutral, or stressed state. Meaning, students learn more effectively, make less mistakes on challenges, and make better decisions in a positive state.
This clearly has advantages for children as they reach the elementary school years and beyond. A grateful perspective is also an antidote to negative self-talk. When children notice the good in others they tend to be less judgmental of themselves. This is an important concept for young learners to master as being less judgmental and having positive self-talk can have lasting beneficial outcomes, extending beyond just academics.
Each morning our classes open with the “Welcoming Circle” where the teachers model what went well the day before and what they are grateful for. Through modeling gratitude and appreciation for people and the circumstances that provide us opportunities to learn, students learn to train their minds to notice the good things that are all around us.
Following our philosophy of balance, teachers also take time to discuss when circumstances do not go well and when challenges are presented. These teachable moments often allow students to recognize their own resiliency and their support network.
Students also take turns sharing what went well in their day and what they are grateful for through a variety of artistic expression throughout the year. This encourages speaking in front of the class, sharing something from home, and the development of their practice in gratitude.