Promoting Effort and Persistence in Early Elementary School Grades – A Collaboration with Fred Rogers Inc.

The time between the ages of four and six marks a significant transition from home life or preschool to the start of formalized schooling with kindergarten. For many children, this transition presents some of their earliest experiences of peer comparison and outcome-based evaluation (testing, grades, rankings based on performance, ability grouping). Although young children are naturally inclined to view ability as defined by effort and perseverance, the transition to school confronts them with a contradictory system of testing and grades. Entering school with a growth mindset can help buffer young children from interpreting static markers of performance, like grades, as a sign of their "fixed" intelligence; instead, children with a growth mindset have a critical insight into their own power to learn and the opportunity provided at school to grow their intelligence.

Working in collaboration with Family Communications (the producers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and other educational materials for people who work with children), OCD is developing a parenting intervention program to communicate to young children a learning orientation and the values of resiliency, effort, and perseverance (i.e., valuing a “growth mindset”). The focus is to develop tools, methods of support, and activities (i.e., games/media) for parents with children ages four to six to instill in their children the importance of effort and the malleable nature of intelligence.

For more information, please contact Joan Eichner, Director of Applied Research and Evaluation, at 412 383 1310 or