Helping Children Acquire a Growth Mindset

growth mindset is a winning mindset.

Can children be induced to adopt a growth mindset?

We encourage children to dream up new ideas, whether gigantic or nano-sized—often intersecting several disciplines. Whether or not children think they are “good” at various subjects, we encourage them to go where their ideas lead them.

Who has ever accomplished something startlingly new without believing it is at least possible? Entrepreneurial education is about possibilities.

The Girl Scouts is the original growth mindset organization for girls in eSTEAM —that’s an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, with entrepreneurialism. Girl Scout cookie sales remain the most widespread entrepreneurial experience for girls in the U.S. The Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) is dedicated to “elevating the voices of girls on issues that matter to them and their futures” and dispelling myths.

What’s special about GSRI’s work is that it surveys girls themselves, who speak about their perceptions, interests and abilities, using a strengths-based approach. This has revealed an enthusiasm for STEAM and clues to stopping the erosion as girls grow up. In its report Generation STEM, the Girl Scouts found:

  • Three quarters of high school girls are interested in STEM subjects
  • Girls who are interested in STEM have supportive adult networks and exposure to STEM fields
  • 85% like puzzles and solving problems
  • 83% like working on hands-on science projects
  • African-American and Hispanic girls are interested in STEM but need more support and exposure to STEM
  • 92% believe they are smart enough to have a career in STEM
  • And nearly 100% believe they can do whatever boys can do

The growth mindset is a winning mindset. There is no downside to a girl believing that she has the capacity to grow her intelligence and acquire new skills and new depth. She should know that neuroscience is on her side. Everything we are learning about plasticity of the brain “supports the hope that people can learn and grow throughout life,” overcoming obstacles along the way.

I’d love to hear from you about the girls in your life, and how they think about the world. Do they believe they can work in the sciences, and accomplish anything that boys can? Thank you for sharing!

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