Developing an “I can do it!” attitude

  • Published on February 10, 2017

Developing a positive attitude to learning and an “I can do it!” attitude in young children is important. Children need to be willing to take a risk, to have a go, to try something new. They also need to realise that, if they can’t do it yet, it’s not the end of the world. If they try again, practise, and show persistence, one day they’ll be able to achieve many of the things they want. Giving up doesn’t achieve anything.

That little word “yet” is very important for children, and adults, to understand. It helps them see that learning is a process, not just a product. Learning is something that continues throughout life.  If we want to develop life-long learners, it is important to view learning as a continuum. Every stage is important in and of itself, not just as a stepping stone to the next. If children are acknowledged for what they can do, they will be more willing to have a go at things they haven’t yet.

Developing confident children is at the heart of a supportive classroom environment.

An “I can do it!” attitude consists of three main parts:

  • the confidence to have a go, a willingness to try, and of not being afraid of not getting it on the first attempt,
  • the persistence to keep on trying and the determination to succeed, despite setbacks, and
  • the resilience to not crumble under setbacks.

There are many subtle ways that confidence can be encouraged in a classroom. It won’t happen with just one session a week, or even a day. It comes from an attitude, a way of viewing children and their abilities; a way of understanding learning, of where the children are and where they are going. It is about finding the best way of extending their learning while keeping their self-esteem, confidence, and joy in learning intact.

Within a supportive environment that appreciates the present while keeping a firm, but flexible, eye on the future, there are many activities that can be used to affirm children’s developing abilities and to help them grow into confident learners.

Knowing how much children enjoy fairy tales, one year when we were discussing confidence and the things they could do, I wrote a fairy tale starring the children in the class. They loved it, and I used it with each subsequent class. It is now available to readilearn subscribers to use with their classes.

The Clever Children, tells of a kingdom over which a wicked witch has cast a spell of forgetfulness – everyone has forgotten what they once knew. The king, hearing about the class of clever children, enlists their help in teaching the people what they need to know.

The story is available both as a estory for reading online and as a printable to personalise for your class. Free teaching notes are also available. This week I have uploaded a new free resource, the  I can caption book, which can be used in conjunction with The Clever Children or on its own.

clever children

The Clever Children – estory

The Clever Children – estory – How to use this resource

The Clever Children –  printable

The Clever Children – printable – How to use this resource

The Clever Children – I can page

I can caption book

I can caption book and I can caption book – Teaching suggestions combined in an easy-to-download zip folder. Print out the booklets, brainstorm ideas, and have children write their own booklets about things they can do.

Note: It is just as effective, and saves on printing costs, to give children sheets of blank paper for writing. However, the booklet is available if you wish to use it.

Register now to begin using free resources, or Subscribe for access to all resources.

I hope you and your children enjoy using these resources. I’ll see you next week with an author spotlight and suggestions for storytelling. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.

Thank you for reading.

Happy teaching and learning,



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I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.





    I love this: “Developing confident children is at the heart of a supportive classroom environment.” Your main points confidence, persistence, and resilience are crucial as is your point that this will not happen overnight. Or in a week. Or a month. It will vary and we (parents/teachers) must be patient. Thank you for this post. And thank you for the ideas and printables. I’m going to use this with my son.

    Thank you for your comment, Sarah. I’m pleased you find the ideas useful. I like that you added patience to the mix. It, too, is important.

    You are right, Norah, confidence is certainly key. That is why I moved my Michael from a main stream school to a remedial school in Grade 3. He could have battled on in main stream but it was impacting on his confidence. He is so happy at his current school and is doing so well. He has just finished reading Tom Sawyer, more or less, all by himself.

    I’m very pleased to hear your son is doing so much better at his new school, Robbie. What an important decision that was to make for him. Parents need to do all they can to develop their children’s confidence. I hope he enjoyed Tom Sawyer. I remember reading it when I was a child. Thanks for visiting and sharing your experience.

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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