Developing independence and resilience in the Mighty Girls Challenge
The Blackheath High School Mighty Girls Challenge for our Junior girls has been designed to encourage Ambition, Bravery and Curiosity. It was inspired by the Junior School Head's Mighty Girls Club, a group for Year 6 students, where they discuss inspiring women and explore what it takes to be a confident, fearless woman in today’s world. The programme has been devised with the help of our very capable Year 6 Mighty Girls Challenge Team. We wanted to provide something for our children, to complement our curriculum in developing valuable life skills central to their development now and in the future. It is an opportunity to try something new, learn from mistakes, engage with others, and reflect on what we can achieve.
Girls begin their challenges in Year 2 and carry right through to the final year of Year 5. Each pillar aims to closely tie to the key skills that the World Economic Forum predicts will be needed when they enter the world of work. Each year group from 2- 5 receives a brilliantly designed Blackheath High School Mighty Girls Challenge Journal which becomes a scrapbook of photographs, letters, leaflets and much more, documenting what they have achieved and how they felt during and after the challenge.
Our Year 2 pupils will be undertaking challenges such as upcycling clothing, learning new skills such as juggling, building dens and creating their own fruit and vegetable patch. By Year 5 pupils are planning fundraising events, working on ways to improve our local area and performing their own music to an audience, to give just a few examples.
Crucially, each challenge asks the girls to reflect on what they have learned and what they achieved as a result. In seeking to complete their challenges we are already seeing increased independence, perseverance and resilience, but most importantly the challenges are fun. Our pupils are extremely proud when receiving pin badges at their ‘graduation’ ceremony.
The success to-date of the programme is illustrated below by some fantastic feedback from our Year 4 girls:
“I learned to play Happy Birthday on the violin, and I have never played it before. I was so impressed with myself when I did it.”
“I planned a vegetarian meal. I helped my Mum cook a curry. She showed me how to cook it and I cut vegetables; I added spices. All my family liked the food, and I discovered I can cook!”
“I learnt how to load the dishwasher, I changed my bedding, I helped to lay the table for mealtimes, and I washed the car. I really enjoyed helping out and I am still doing these jobs!”
“I found out how to make a bird feeder for my garden. I made fatballs from seeds and dead worms. I hung it in my garden and watched robins, bluetits and greytits feeding. So many birds come we have had to keep refilling the fatballs. It was so much fun!”
“I made my own kite from an old plastic bag, wood and string and on a windy day we tried to fly it. We had to keep trying to get it to work, but it did eventually! I like being creative although it was quite hard to make my kite fly.”
Later this year, we are looking forward to celebrating our Mighty Girls Challenge with Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, an incredible British space scientist who was the first black woman to win Physics News Award gold medal. Many of you will know her as presenter of CBeebies Stargazing and Out of This World on CBBC, or The Sky at Night on BBC, but she is also owner of a company called Science Innovation which teaches about the wonders of space science. She will be coming into school to share some of her personal experiences on being Ambitious, Brave and Curious. As a great example of this she was told at school that she would find Science too difficult due to being dyslexic, but she certainly persevered and proved people wrong.
Our aim is that the whole school community will be continually inspired by our Mighty Girls programme as they complete the Challenges and develop on these vital skills when they step out into the world in life after Blackheath High School.