Moving Beyond Limiting Beliefs is Essential to Providing Quality Early Education

Deborah Stewart, the founder of Teach Preschool Hive, provides tips to help teachers of children ages 3-5 move beyond their “limiting beliefs.” Stewart sees many teachers who have beliefs or misperceptions that hold them back from giving their students a full range of experiences in the classroom.

What are Limiting Beliefs?

A limiting belief is essentially a faulty way of thinking. She says it comes across in the context of the preschool classroom as some of the following:

  • My class is way too big
  • My student will just make a mess
  • I can’t sing well
  • My class is too small
  • My students hate books

If these thoughts enter your mind, they can stop you from experimenting, trying something new, or creating exciting “outside the box” activities that are often most successful.

Tips To Prevent Your Limiting Beliefs From Controlling Your Classroom

Stewart suggests that the first step is to identify your personal limiting beliefs. Look for situations where you act or plan in a way that’s based on assumptions instead of facts or real experiences. Once you identify what limits you, you can work on modifying your behavior.

Stewart’s next tip is to add the word “but” after your limiting belief and add words that evoke competence and confidence. For example, “I can’t sing, but, by singing, I am encouraging my students to laugh at themselves.” Or, “If I let my student pour his juice, he will just make a mess, but, by letting him do this, I am demonstrating that I have faith in him and his abilities and that we have to keep trying to get things right. When we don’t, we clean up the mess and try again. I am also teaching patience.”

Eventually, you can focus on the potential positive outcomes associated with moving past your limiting beliefs. You can begin to think and teach outside the box, and show your students that nothing should hold them back!

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