Hey Aim Families!
"Does the past determine the future?" - This is our question of the year and has been playing in my mind as I've reviewed this past week.
While on our field trip this week (check out the fun pics in Band), I watched as Lance's baby enjoyed his new skill of walking. Being a new skill, he hadn't quite mastered it yet and he fell a lot! The baby took a few wobbly steps, fell down and giggled, then immediately positioned himself to get up and repeat it - a few steps, fall down, giggle, get up. He was enjoying it! Watching this, I wondered: When do we learn to not like falling down? When do we learn to hate failure? When do we start giving up instead of getting up? And how can we change that?
Often adults want to protect others from failures, especially our own children - we tell them exactly what to do, how to do it and if they fail, we step in and fix it for them, robbing them of key learning opportunities.
This week at Aim included a lot of falling down and failure. It also included a lot of rising up and success.
Some learners encountered failures in completing problems in math, some in reaching their daily SMART goals, some didn't set goals at all. Others encountered failures in building their design of a Rube Goldberg machine, while others faced failure in explaining simple machines; and yet others faced failure in their teamwork, in friendships or in holding their friends accountable when a studio promise was broken. And then there were some failures that led to much bigger consequences and learners needing a reset at home.
These might not sound like things to celebrate, yet we do. These are prime learning moments! And when we learn to fail better, we succeed more!
And some of the failures from past weeks actually led to many of the successes we saw this week. Our council reached some impressive milestones for being in just the first session of school. We saw delegation with reporting, holding a high standard of excellence for work done, tracking systems implemented, a balance of warm-heartedness and tough-mindedness when passing judgment, and many more. There is already talk about how to bring the whole tribe to the point of holding each other accountable for the small things so that council is not faced with handing out consequences for the larger issues. That is a huge success!!
We also witnessed a myriad of successes within the studio as a whole: everything from completing a difficult Quest challenge, earning 3 Eagle Bucks when it had been a struggle to get even 1 before, passing a level in a Core Skills subject, to giving a first-ever Character Call Out.
Within the Spark studio, everyone received a running partner and set challenging goals for themselves. They weren't afraid of failure at all - their focus was on trying new things, being curious and stretching themselves more. And they did accomplish that! (Even if they didn't hit the big goal they set for themselves.)
Here at Aim Academy, learners are given real world challenges and opportunities through projects, learning on their own, and being leaders. Here, they have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes while the stakes are small (giving up an Eagle Buck, losing freedoms, being sent home). This allows them to learn so that they are much less likely to make those mistakes when the stakes are much higher (think teenage and college years).
As you review this week with your learner, encourage them to share their failures in addition to their successes. Much of what they are doing at Aim Academy are new skills and they will fall a lot at first. Ask them about it, celebrate each failure and each success, then support them in learning from both!
This coming week (Thursday at 2pm) is our first Exhibition of the year. The learners are excited to show off what they've accomplished so far. And just like everything else at Aim, hosting an Exhibition is 100% learner-driven with a possibility of failure as they learn this new skill. They've come a long way in learning to plan, work together and succeed.
We can't wait to see what they put together for you this week.
Serena Cofer & Britney Mendel