The Little Engine that Could

“I think I can—I think I can—I think I can—…” says the little engine as she chugs up the hill to deliver toys to the children on the other side of the mountain. This classic children’s book is a great jumping off point for a discussion about the role of effort and persistence in accomplishing things that are hard for us. Read The Little Engine That Could to your class and have discussions about the role of effort. Spoiler alert: The little engine makes it! The mantra “I think I can” may be helpful to children as they try to accomplish a challenging task (zipper my coat, open my milk, ride a bike). Toward the end of the day or at a closing circle time, ask the children, “Did you work hard at something today?” Teachers can note what children are attempting to do during the day and share anecdotes of trying challenging things with the class.