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Find out more about the award-winning bestseller Dream

Free online Begin and End With a Dream activities to start the school year

Download 8 Tips for goal-getting

Get more ideas for helping kids set goals


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Contact: Brian Puppa, e-mail or call (905) 640-8914

Help Kids Become Goal-Getters

AUGUST 6, 2012 / Legacy Project / – If you want your child to have a good year in school and be successful in life, help them learn how to set and achieve goals. Educator Susan V. Bosak works with schools across the country. She has some ideas to help parents and teachers start the school year right. Bosak serves as Chair of the national Legacy Project, a big-picture learning project.

Up to 30% of students drop out of school. Those who do graduate often find themselves aimless. Research shows it's critical to get kids thinking early – in elementary and middle school – about what's important to them and why. Dreams and goals give life purpose, direction, and meaning. They help young people build toward the future, and offer a sense of control and hope. They help children make the connection between what they're learning in the classroom and success in the real world.

"Our dreams and goals shape our life choices," says Bosak. "Helping children identify their goals, learn how to achieve them, and how to make the associated choices is the best gift a parent or teacher can give."

Setting and striving for goals helps children learn responsibility, how to break a large task into manageable steps, how to work with others to get what they want, how to handle stress, what's realistic and what may not be, and to believe in who they are and what they can accomplish.

There are free online Begin and End With a Dream ideas and activities parents and teachers can use at www.legacyproject.org. Here are some of Bosak's top tips:

  • Start the school year with a Goal Letter. Children should identify something they'd like to learn more about or get better at, learn how to do, or a fear they'd like to overcome. With the help of a parent or teacher, they write a Goal Letter that includes what they want to do, why they want to do it, the specific steps to get it, and a specific date to achieve the goal.

  • Develop a Learning Pledge together that children sign. Include items like listening better in class, asking the teacher questions when they don't understand material or an assignment, taking a few extra minutes to double-check homework before handing it in, and starting to study for a test at least three days beforehand.

  • Schools can create a Hallway of Dreams. Each student's name and photo is featured on a large yellow star. On three smaller yellow stars hanging from the large star, each student writes a goal for the school year, a personal goal for something they would like to be or do when they get older, and a dream for our world. Hang the stars in the school hallway to remind students of their goals and inspire them for the school year.

  • Use the Legacy Project's Ladder to the Stars downloadable fill-in sheet to help children develop the skill of identifying and ordering the steps needed to achieve a goal. They write a goal in the starburst and fill in all the required steps on the ladder rungs leading up to the star.

  • Help children create a "Better Me" list – things they can do on a regular basis to improve themselves and build character. These might include reading one new book a week, writing in a daily journal or writing to a long-distance grandparent once a month, studying an extra 15 minutes a day, helping a younger brother or sister with homework. Post the list in a prominent location.

  • We all have different strengths and achieve goals in different ways. Using the Dreamer Profile, help children explore whether they're a Creative, Dynamic, or Practical Dreamer.

  • To help them discover who they are and their dreams, children can decorate a cardboard box to create a Dream Chest. Children can fill the Dream Chest through the school year with anything that interests or inspires them – newspaper and magazine articles, images, cartoons, quotations. Parents and teachers can discuss and help children discover patterns in the items in their Dream Chest.

  • Encourage children to choose a Historical Hero – an interesting historical figure who can serve as a role model. Make it a project to learn more about him or her over the school year.

  • The Legacy Project's annual Listen to a Life Essay Contest offers students a chance to interview an older adult about their life goals and how they achieved them to win a Lenovo ThinkCentre computer.

  • Set a Dream Time every week. Read inspiring books aloud together and discuss them. What interests kids? What inspires them? What questions does a book spark? What more can children find out?

  • Parents and teachers can share the award-winning bestseller Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes written by Bosak as a way to start the school year and spark a discussion with children about their dreams and goals. Richly illustrated by 15 top children's illustrators, Dream offers a poetic story about life's hopes and dreams from childhood to adulthood, sprinkled with inspiring quotations. It has won 11 national awards including an iParenting Award, a Teachers' Choice, and a Children's Choice – 10,000 children across the country read and vote on the books they like best.

For all the Begin and End With a Dream activities, visit www.legacyproject.org.

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For more information, contact Brian Puppa, Legacy Project, by e-mail or call (905) 640-8914

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