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I have so enjoyed our assemblies this term where we have been sowing the seeds of anything being possible with the right mindset. The children in Reception and KS1 now regularly talk about the brain being like a muscle that we need to exercise by working hard to help it grow and try their very best to be a ‘Work-it-out-Wiz’ when faced with a problem before declaring, ‘It’s too hard’ and giving up.

Recently we have thought how even ‘Work-it-out-Wizzes’ can feel frustrated as sometimes no matter how hard we work, things are still difficult. To better help the children understand that this is a natural feeling that everyone shares, we watched an animation about a monster who found themselves in ‘the dip’.

The ‘dip’ is the place you find yourself after beginning a new learning adventure with much enthusiasm and excitement (a bit like walking up a hill); it can be hard work to get there and sometimes when you get to the top you have to walk down into the valley before climbing the next hill. The dip is when you find yourself temporarily stuck in the valley having run out of energy and enthusiasm to start the next climb.

Many children related to the monster’s experiences by offering examples such as getting stuck on a certain level of a computer game and having to keep restarting it, trying to build a complicated Lego structure but it keep falling apart and learning to ride a bike without stabilisers.

However we also learned that to get out of ‘the dip’ we need to reflect on what has gone wrong and puzzle out a way to put it right. Sometimes this might just involve repeated practice of the skill we are trying to master and sometimes it might be trying a new method to achieve the goal or asking someone else for some help. The good news was there is always a way out of the dip and all the reflecting will make our brains grow even bigger.

It has been so rewarding to see how the visual images and characters we have used, along with adding phrases such as ‘the dip’ into our vocabulary, has had such an impact on the children’s understanding. It is by giving the children the language and experiences to communicate their feelings that they will be more empowered to make sense of them and so move their learning forward.

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