Habits for School Success

Articles about habits for success in school promise to provide a magic formula that will lead to effortless learning for all students. As any Indian Creek student will tell you, there are many practices that can lead to positive outcomes for many, but no two students will find the same formula for success in school. When asked about tips for being successful in school, Indian Creek students - from three-year-old Pre-Kindergarten students through seniors in the midst of their college application process - had a ton of advice to share. Much of that advice was the same for students of all ages! Here are five habits for school success, provided by Indian Creek students:

1) Know yourself and how you best learn: Set yourself up for success
“Know your brain!” shared the first grade students when asked how to thrive at school. What the Class of 2029 means is that the key to success in school for any student is to understand one’s own learning style and structure study habits accordingly. All individuals naturally find some types of learning to be more effective than others. Some students are visual learners and learn well through pictures and videos, while others are auditory learners and absorb material by listening. Many students learn by “doing,” through project-based learning, and others find that integrating art into a lesson helps them to process material. Discovering one’s learning style can help to design study habits that will be most effective. At Indian Creek, all students are taught how the brain processes information, and are guided through an investigation of their own learning styles. Students are then provided with strategies for each type of learner to help maximize efficiency in studying.

2) Communicate with your teachers: Ask questions and share your ideas
Indian Creek provides an environment that encourages students to take an active role in their learning process. Students and teachers build close-knit relationships that make asking questions in class much less intimidating for children. As senior Caroline Walworth shares, “At ICS, every student is really close with their teachers. We are able to really communicate and form a basis of trust. Teachers really know you on a personal level.” This means that children are comfortable asking for help when they need assistance, and also sharing their own ideas and insight when they are inspired by a topic. This experience carries through with students as they go off to college and are comfortable seeking help from their professors, and even later in life when they interact with professional colleagues.

3) Prioritize: Find your best system for time management
Time management is key to success in school, whether you are a Kindergarten student trying to finish a storyboard cartoon before recess, or a senior with play practice, a soccer game, a full course-load, and college applications to complete. Establishing regular homework time - and sticking to it - has proven helpful for many Creekers. “Chunking” assignments, or setting a timer during homework and then rewarding oneself when each goal is reached is effective for others. “Learning to prioritize tasks and take care of the most urgent responsibilities while not getting behind on long-term projects was a challenge for me, but gaining these skills has helped me to succeed,” shares senior SGA President Brandon Harris.

4) Take care of yourself: Healthy, happy, brains are the best brains
“Take deep breaths,” shares Grace ’30. This Kindergarten student already understands the importance of mindfulness. The educational benefits of getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and getting regular exercise are lauded in neuroscience research far and wide. At Indian Creek, students are encouraged to develop habits for a healthy body both in and outside of school. Research proves that adolescent brains biologically function at their best after 8:30 a.m., and that sleep deprivation is hazardous to the educational and physical health of students. To accommodate this, Indian Creek seventh through twelfth grade students start their school day at 8:45 a.m. to allow teenagers to get the sleep they need to thrive. The school has also invested in an unparalleled dining experience for students and faculty. Healthy, nutritious meals with plenty of options are prepared onsite to give the school community the energy it needs to do our best work. Teachers incorporate physical movement into all classes, and “brain breaks” and recess time are an integral part of the Pre-K through eighth grade school day.

5) Play!
All students interviewed shouted the importance of having fun at school to keep them motivated to succeed. Humans learn more when they enjoy what they are doing. Indian Creek teachers understand this, and create lessons that engage the students and keep their interest. Recess time provides an important brain break and social time so that when students come back to the classroom they are ready to learn. And having extra-curricular activities that they enjoy after school motivates students to do well during the day.