Resilience is a skill that builds over a childs early years, it’s the ability to bounce back from stress, adversity, failure and challenges. This often forms from having a strong attachment with a primary caregiver or teacher that is respected and valued. The quality of that relationship we are able to create has a direct impact on the child’s sense of a safe and secure world. Working with our tamariki every day, we get a gauge of how they socially interact, how they move physically, their emotional well-being and how resilient they can be. We know their cues when they are feeling vulnerable or if they need that extra guidance and support.
My two-year old, Kawai experienced being persistent and building his resilience while riding his trike down a hill. He noticed another two year old riding his balance bike down a grassy slope, Kawai wanted to test himself to see if he could do that too. Off he went, on his trike and this is where the act of resilience comes to play through first-hand experience of taking on something that is challenging and pushing through being uncomfortable to overcome difficult situations. Te Whāriki explain how children demonstrate and show a “capacity of self-regulation and resilience in the face of challenges” (Ministry of Education, p. 27, 2017). This is exactly what happened with Kawai, the first three times down the hill he fell forward, but with persistence he wanted to keep going until he mastered the whole hill without falling off. I was right there, encouraging him and telling him to lean back and look forward. I was so proud of him, because even after falling off he wanted to go “again”. He took on my instruction and the emotion on his face when he got down to the bottom without falling off was a special moment, especially for his māmā.
Kawai has developed his resilience through the confidence that he has built within himself from his whānau role modelling a set of skills, which also promotes the concept of what resilience means for him. Learning dispositions and working theories are also interwoven within persistence and resilience and how our tamariki see themselves in their world.