Psychologist Angela Duckworth - cultivating grit in kids

Developing grit and resilience through rising to the challenge…

University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth says, “I don’t think people can become truly gritty and great at things they don’t love, so when we try to develop grit in kids, we also need to find and help them cultivate their passions.” Just recently I have had much opportunity to witness first hand some of our girls developing grit and resilience participating in activities they enjoy.

A number of our sailors competed in the schools’ sailing challenge at Itchenor. With over 100 boats at the start line and fairly windy conditions our girls competed against older and more experienced yachtsmen and flew the PHS flag very well indeed. I watched girls as their boat capsized hold onto their vessel (no easy task) and climb back in to continue in the race. One team of two had got their spinnaker caught round the pole and whilst still cutting through the waves at a fair speed they managed to untangle the sail by one girl acting as ballast whilst her crew mate hung off the front of the dingy. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to see firsthand the girls’ talent and passion for sailing.  Alice, Katie, Izzy, Flo and Blythe achieved particularly good overall positions but all who participated did so well. Thank you to Mr and Mrs Graham for inviting me to join them on their rib.

Then at the GDST golf championships Nancy Fenton finished third.  Again she showed style, talent, skill and determination to continue to play in miserable weather. She has a steady hand, calmness and nerve despite the pressure. Nancy really did do well against competitors that played for national teams.

Year 6 put on a tremendous play and they acted and sang with wonderful comedy timing and wit. This talent was also a feature of the plays for the senior school drama clubs. Whilst the subject matter may not have been amusing the girls still managed to deliver laughs at an appropriate moment which is not easy.

It is around this time of the year I literally run out of time cramming in all our events, performances, displays and shows and I notice especially how talented and passionate the girls are about every aspect of school life. The pupils develop grit and resilience because they are prepared to rise to the challenge of almost any opportunity and they develop a strength of character as a result.