Let Grow’s Free School Programs Help Kids Develop Independence and Autonomy
The nonprofit organization has launched three free programs that encourage elementary and middle school students to become self-motivated problem solvers in their everyday lives
New York, NY—August 26, 2020—Let Grow, the nonprofit promoting childhood independence so kids grow up ready to succeed in the ever-changing world, today announced the national launch of three school programs: The Let Grow Project, Independent Classroom Kit, and Let Grow Play Club. Each of the programs is designed for grades K-8 and available free of charge to schools and educators everywhere. The goal is to make kids more independent and self-directed in their schoolwork, their home life, and the wider world.
“At Let Grow, we believe every child is strong and capable, so we designed our school programs and resources to build each learner’s confidence, self-motivation, autonomy and resilience,” said Andrea Keith, Vice President of School Programs for Let Grow. “Families and educators are experiencing a lot of pressure due to the shift to distance learning. Our programs—all available for free—offer self-directed learning opportunities for students in their journey to becoming more independent. They are an ideal fit for schools navigating the complications of re-entry plans, as they can foster meaningful student growth that pays off in the short-term and the long run.”
Each of the three school programs is designed to support educators at the elementary and middle school levels as they help students build the foundational skills to become self-motivated problem solvers:
• The Let Grow Project challenges kids to complete tasks outside of the classroom with complete autonomy. The students choose these with their parents’ input. Each task—from preparing breakfast to walking the dog or running an errand—acts as a building block for independence by encouraging students to do something on their own. They become self-motivated problem solvers in order to complete each assignment. The Let Grow Project Implementation Guide is available for free and provides step-by-step instructions for educators to communicate the assignment to students and parents. The guide includes all the resources needed to execute a Let Grow Project, including a template worksheet for students to track their tasks, helpful suggestions for teachers to connect each project to their lesson plans, and project ideas to get started, as well as best practices for classroom, school and district adoption.
In a school setting, The Let Grow Project has been used as an after-school “homework” assignment, with students sharing their projects with their peers and using their experiences in other curricular areas, like writing, public speaking, or art. In a distance learning or hybrid school model, teachers and parents can use the assignment as a break from online learning, encouraging kids to participate in home and outdoor activities that promote social-emotional learning through independence.
• The Independent Classroom Kit puts classroom management in the hands of the students. Even the youngest students can learn how to organize and manage their own work and schedule, whether in the classroom or at home. Most teachers spend the first few days of a new school year teaching students the processes and procedures for things like taking attendance, distributing materials, turning in assignments, organizing their supplies, and seeking help. These procedures don’t just make the teacher’s job easier; they teach children how to be independent and responsible for themselves. To support distance or hybrid learning, the Independent Classroom Kit provides tools, resources, and a parent letter that teachers can use to explain their Independent Classroom philosophy while helping parents support reasonable expectations.
• The Let Grow Play Club encourages mixed-age unstructured free play where the children choose what to play, how to play, and negotiate with each other in order to keep the fun going. The Play Club Implementation Guide provides an overview of the Play Club’s approach to independent play, as well as recommendations on how to structure the program, including ideas about the location, schedule, number of students, and more. The guide also helps educators communicate the purpose of Play Club to their peers, as well as to parents and guardians. The Let Grow Play Club can work in school settings, including on the playground or gymnasium, as well as at home in parks. Not only will students benefit from play and socializing with their peers—they’ll be better able to better sit and focus when it’s time to study.
Let Grow’s mission of promoting childhood independence aligns with the five social-emotional learning competencies—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision-making and relationship skills—identified by the Collaborative for Social, Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Either used separately or in combination, each of the three school programs encourages students to engage in self-directed SEL skill building.
Learn more about these free programs, and how to implement them in your school, by visiting https://letgrow.org/schools
About Let Grow
Let Grow is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is taking action in schools, homes and communities to change the conventional wisdom about how much our kids can do. Let Grow believes all kids are smart, strong and capable, and the organization’s programs promote the healthy development of confidence, independence and resilience. Let Grow’s school programs include the Let Grow Project, Let Grow Play Club, and Independent Classroom Kit—each of which are free, ready-to-use programs for educators to support the development of social-emotional skills to improve student behavior, school culture and academic success. Learn more at https://letgrow.org/schools