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Children's School Division Director

Ms. Jody Bates Bliss

October 15, 2021

Dear Children School Families,

One of the greatest gifts in my life has been parenthood – no question. With parenting, however, comes the roller coaster of emotions that we feel for our children, with our children, and on behalf of our children. 

A favorite resource of mine as an educator, in particular, (it wasn’t written when my children were little!) is the book The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. The title itself is a bit counterintuitive. By definition, a gift is, “A present; a thing given willingly to someone without payment; a natural ability.” A failure, on the other hand, is “An act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success.” 

In other words, a gift is something we naturally seek as humans whereas failure is something we do not. But, should we? Can we reframe this thinking and, instead, view the gift of failure as an opportunity for growth? 

Throughout CSS, including Children’s School, we foster and embrace a growth mindset. We believe that we all are “a work in progress” – in some way, shape or form – and that we have the ability to learn and grow through our daily interactions with the world and with one another. Indeed, interactions with a curriculum or one’s peers can be challenging and test our resources and resiliency, but it is during these moments of dissonance that growth occurs. To interfere with that process and not embrace failure (or challenges) can restrict learning. 

“Protecting kids from the frustration, anxiety, and sadness they experience from failure in the short-term keeps our children from becoming resilient and from experiencing the growth mindset they deserve,” says the book’s author Jessica Lahey. “Be honest with your children. Praise them for their resilience and the efforts they make to recover from their mistakes. Above all, keep your eye on the prize: intrinsic motivation.” (p.36)

As both a parent and an educator, I understand how hard it can be to see children struggle in the face of challenges. I appreciate the sudden urge to swoop in and fix things for them when the going gets rough. Like a superhero, we have a deep commitment to protect our children from harm and frustration. According to Lahey, however, “What feels good to us isn’t always what is good for our children. We are not used to putting off what feels right and good for us in the short-term in order to do what is right and good for our children in the long-term.” (p.15)

At The Colorado Springs School, we embrace the act of failure by providing opportunities for our students to tap their inner resources and find a way – their way. When left to their own devices, we trust that our students will figure it out. After all, “The key is that competence must come out of a child’s own efforts.” (p.37) 

Even in our busy lives, I find it joyful to stop, watch, and listen to children as they engage with a task or talk with a peer and, ultimately, navigate the world around them. This goes without saying that there are certainly key moments when adults should be there for children. Just knowing that we are here for them as parents, teachers, and coaches – should they need us – will help our children strive, learn and grow to become independent and confident problem-solvers and thinkers with a strong sense of themselves and their capabilities. 

When do we step in and when should we leave a child to their own devices?

There is a fine line with regard to respecting childrens’ capabilities. In the Children’s School, our faculty come to know their students fully. This helps them discover appropriate methods for supporting students’ development and growth as they gain a better understanding of who they are as learners and as people. In addition, it allows them to determine when students might need assistance and when they might need time to dig deeper. Finally, it provides a space for students to feel safe as they engage with the world. 

One of my greatest hopes for our Children’s School students is that they build resilience during their time at CSS. The ability to bounce back and to stand up despite failure is a life skill that will stick with them forever. A school psychologist John Scardina once said, “Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.” 

I find this to be so true and meaningful in our often quick-fix culture. I believe there is indeed a gift in failure and I hope you will take a minute to ponder this as well. 

In partnership,


Children's School Voices

It's almost time for one of my favorite CSS traditions in the month of October – the Halloween parade! This year's parade will be held at 2:45 p.m. on Friday, October 29. As we get pumped for the holiday, here's what a few of our children had to say about Halloween and the reasons why they love it. Also, check out their costumes from past years!

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Gemma S. '33

Q. What are you planning to be for Halloween?

A Moon Goddess.

Q. Why did you choose this?

Because it looks really cool and I like the night sky.

Q. What is your favorite part of Halloween? What are you most looking forward to?

Spending time with my family.

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Oliver M. '34

Q. What are you planning to be for Halloween?

A skeleton.

Q. Why did you choose this?

Because I have skeleton jammies.

Q. What is your favorite part of Halloween? What are you most looking forward to?

Right by my house, right up the hill, I saw a clown on a swing. I like the decoration. It was connected on a tree.

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The Colorado Springs School

21 Broadmoor Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

Work: (719) 434-3530 |