Making Kindergartners Unafraid to Fail: Growth Mindset and How To Teach It


Education, Curriculum Design


paddleballs, a copy of "Your Fantastic Elastic Brain"



Link to the lesson plan



A 30 minute lesson for K4 and K level students that encourages growth mindset—that is, the belief that hard work will lead to improved school performance. While this may seem self-evident, a lot of what we say to kids actually leads them to believe the opposite. If they’re not good at something, they never will be. If they’re told that they’re “smart,” then any kind of failure isn’t an opportunity to grow but a threat. Kids who believe intelligence is fixed are far more likely to cheat on tests and apply themselves less in school.


Create a lesson accessible to kindergarten students that changes the language everyone in the classroom uses about success and failure and learning.


The process for creating this lesson was a mix of reading, research, and some improvisation. For a more detailed look at the lesson plan, click here.

Outcomes and Takeaways

Evaluation was judged on how many kids could communicate a story about growth in skills over time (about 90%). Anecdotally, the language of the classroom and the number of incidents of “perfection meltdown”—that is, a child having a serious emotional incident tied to inability to succeed at a task perfectly the first time—fell dramatically.

Role: Teacher, Curriculum Designer



Team Size: 1


Project Length: 2 weeks