Pam shows us how the approach inspires learning in a safe environment that allows children to take risks while developing the skills needed to achieve their goals. All this builds a foundation for creative thinking and problem solving at an early age.
If you are an educator who loves holistic teaching, then stay tuned to this episode of the preschool podcast!
Well, I think the “thrive-ology” concept – and we worked with the Thrive Foundation For Youth to come apart and come up with this methodology. And the first thing that we identify in all of our programs – and this is integrated throughout everything that came from our perspective does – the first thing is identifying the individual sparks. Those are the gifts, the talents, the things that really get the children and youth going. It doesn’t necessarily mean that this is what they’re going to be for the rest of their life, you know, for their career. But at this point in time, “This is what gets me going.” So of a lot of children really get… when you ask, “What is your spark? What do you like to do?” they can name it real quick-like. But where the foundational follow-up piece with that spark is, you have to provide opportunity. You have to name that spark. Name it back to them, let them know that you notice that spark about them, and have two or three caring adults support that spark. Say, “Hey, I’ve named it, you’re claiming it. Let’s go out and practice that.” So research has shown that if you have some spark-champions, if you will, in the life of a child or a youth, they are more likely to succeed and have good outcomes later on in life. So that’s kind of the first part of the “thrive-ology” principles.
And then you’ve got the growth mindset, like you said, and making sure that you are forward thinking, you have hope and you have joy in your life. And then teaching the youth and children to set goals, to be forward thinking, to say, “Okay, so what do I want to be? What do I want to do? I have that big dream in mind. So let’s go back and check out the steps so that I can get there.” So that’s that goal management.
And then part of everything else that we put the children and the youth and the adults that work with them is to do that reflection piece. And I think that’s what makes Camp Fire First Texas really, really unique, is that intentional focus on having the youth reflect back. “So how did that go? How was that project that you did in your after-school program? Did it work out the way you wanted to? And if not, why not?” And then, “What can we do better in future to make it turn out a little bit better and more like what you wanted?” So I think that’s the unique part of what we do with the mentorship in all of our Camp Fire programs.
For example, in some of our elementary programs, our after-school programs, that’s an integral part of the planning [of] the curriculum, is, “What are you guys into? What’s your spark?” Yes, there are some goals and some strategies that the adult leaders have in place for them. But the method of attaining those skills, that’s a little bit variable based on the population you’re working with. And so far as early-childhood goes we know that that’s actually the end run. That’s beginning with the end in mind. So what do we have to do as early-childhood educators to put in place this higher level of thinking, this problem solving? “You can do this. I’m here to help you support you.” And also that social-emotional competency that is so important in early-childhood programs. That feeling that, “I’m safe. So because I’m safe here – emotionally safe, physically safe – I can kind of step out and take some risks while I’m doing the skill-building activities in this safe environment.”
Pam this has been a really interesting conversation about Camp Fire Texas. I learned a lot about a very neat program that you’re doing there, especially because you’re involved in things that are happening in the community around you there. Can you tell us a little bit more about where people would go to learn more about the Camp Fire First Texas programs?
Awesome. Pam, you’re doing some great work there a Camp Fire first Texas. I would definitely encourage all of our listeners to check out the website to get some inspiration in terms of how early-education is being approached through these programs. Thank you so much for coming on the show today, Pam.
Thank you, Ron, for inviting me. It’s been a pleasure.