Several years back I had the privilege of being a Preschool Teacher. Having preschool age children at the time myself, I took the responsibility very seriously. The moms of these children had a few hours each morning to shop, get their hair cut, or maybe even meet a friend for breakfast. The children came to a small, nurturing part-time school with teachers that were committed to keeping them safe and teaching developmentally appropriate skills through play, not pressure. The teachers received the gift of watching these children explore, socialize, and learn!
Recently, I facilitated Mind in the Making (MITM) workshops for a local preschool that had similar caring, committed teachers who learned about the research last year. They wanted a refresh on how to apply the seven essential life skills in the classroom. They remembered many of the fundamentals but wanted a refresh as they promote these skills in the classroom, and at home with their own children.
The WOOP was a fan favorite.
WOOP stands for wish, outcome, obstacle, plan. These four words make up what is a four-step mental strategy for realizing and achieving your wishes or goals. In studies, this method is described as “mental contrasting.” This essentially means picturing yourself achieving your goals (yes, a little vision board-y, but stick with us) and compare it against where you are in your present life. By contrasting the two, you can start to identify the obstacles preventing your present life from becoming your dream life.
On WOOP My Life, the method is broken down into four clear, easy-to-follow steps:
- Identify your wish. This could be a bigger career goal or even a small personal goal, like making your bed every day or worrying less. Just WOOP it all!
- Identify the best possible outcome of that wish coming true. How would you feel if you could achieve your goal? If it’s making your bed, maybe you would feel more focused in your day. If it’s worrying less, maybe you would feel a sense of calm.
- Identify the obstacles keeping you from fulfilling your wish. What’s holding you back from attaining your goal and feeling that best possible outcome? In the bed situation, maybe you’re just too sleepy or crunched for time. In the worrying dilemma, maybe you fear not being good enough.
- Identify a plan to fulfill your wish. What can you do to start overcoming those obstacles? To combat your sleepiness and make your bed every day, you could commit to doing ten jumping jacks as soon as you wake up or stretches. To defeat your fear of not being good enough, you can ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen?” or just take a moment to take some slow breaths.
One teacher had done a WOOP around starting to run regularly last year. She was happy to announce that she’s still running!
This year, the teachers took a deeper understanding in the importance of looking at the obstacle. They marveled at how great it would be to teach kids to look at what is getting in their way of success.
Classroom WOOPs were discussed around sitting still for circle time, and if succeeding, finishing up with a class WOOP Dance!
They will share the concept with students’ parents through their newsletter so the parents and teachers can promote it to the children at home and at school.
This refresh created connections between the material they learned last year with the games and activities they participated in this year. They flipped from practicing the skills in the classroom to helping children at home.
At the end of the 8-hour training, we had a list of games and activities for them to implement. For these teachers, it was a day of connection and team building. A training to learn these skills, and a planning period as they walked out the door with games to play and stories to read…all for promoting Focus & Self Control, Perspective Taking, Communicating, Making Connections, Critical Thinking, Taking on Challenges, and Self-Directed Engaged Learning.
If you would like to have a series of Mind in the Making workshops at your place of employment, church, or community organization, please email email@example.com.