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The Gift of Tenacity in Early Childhood

Building a Community of Values

At the heart of our educational philosophy is our ongoing nurturing of a confident, engaged, inclusive, and caring community. We have built this philosophy around six core values and among them, tenacity stands out as a significant component to the success of our students as they mature into self-directed learners. 

On our campus we define tenacity as the ability to pursue your purpose, be that in a classroom assignment, a group collaboration, or when on the playground. Purpose is a driving motivator in just about everything we do. We believe that learning this value in early childhood helps to develop a student (and human) who understands their ability to achieve what they set their mind to, and also the skills to find the help and resources they need to bring their purpose to life. 

The Importance of Tenacity

Tenacity is the ability to persevere and maintain consistency in the face of adversity. It is about being resilient and not giving up when faced with challenges. 

In an early childhood school setting, tenacity is less about pushing and working harder. It’s more about how to use natural talents and abilities to bring forward the result you want. When challenges or setbacks arise, we lean into our tenacity and ingenuity to see obstacles as opportunities to learn and grow. 

Tenacity in Real Time Illustrated by Isabella R. class of 2023

At SYV Family School, tenacity is not just an abstract concept that is taught from the front of the classroom. It is a value and skill we embody in our everyday interactions. Through awareness, community problem-solving, and a positive attitude, our students demonstrate tenacity in all aspects of their life on campus. 

When a student struggles with a difficult math problem, for instance, the key is not to work harder but smarter. Perspective is a fundamental element, as teachers, staff and peers help to look at the challenge from a different angle. Perhaps it literally needs to be taken outside for a walk-and-talk, or maybe puzzled out in chalk on the basketball court. Maybe we need to ask a friend for help, or be the help for another friend. 

You will also see tenacity on our monthly hikes. Scaling a steep hill or pushing through that last mile can be challenging for some kids. In our multi-age hikes, you may see a kindergartener encouraging a fifth grader as they struggle through their tired legs or a fourth grader hiking with a first grader, distracting them from the heat and the flies as they traverse the beautiful Birabent trail. 

A student who is shown how to advocate for their needs, communicate those needs, and then trust that the help they need will be there through their teachers and community, brings the skill of tenacity to life.  The ability to follow through to a desired outcome, allows tenacity to be embodied and practiced in real time and the expected and unexpected achievements to be the ultimate motivator to do it again. 

Tenacity as a Building Block for Success

The delicate and important balance we strive to achieve in the value of tenacity is to foster both the individual student’s skills and talents and also the skill of asking for support. In this way our focus on tenacity builds a model for life beyond school. The notion of defeat or giving up is replaced with problem-solving through a positive lens. A model that presents the world as a place full of abundant resources and support. 

We have found that this takes students from a frustrated and defeated mentality, into one where they feel anything is possible when they embody a solution-based attitude. Tenacity doesn't just help students succeed in school. It  also builds individuals who go into the bigger world with an understanding of their own responsibility for their success. 

When students are tenacious, they become self-starters, leading with independence and also embody the ability to work collaboratively with their peers. This set of skills is less common now in our tech-heavy world, where answers and resources are at our fingertips. Because of this, it is our commitment to this core value that sets our students and graduates apart wherever they go from here. As our students grow into contributing and innovative adults, this sense of tenacity is an essential part of their toolkit for success and makes them a stand-out individual.

In our fifty years of supporting student development, we have found that tenacity is more than just a core value. It is a way of life, a mindset, and a skill that helps our students grow into successful, resilient, and independent leaders. 

If you would like to learn more about The SYV Family School, please visit and follow along to see what’s happening around campus on our IG @syvfamilyschool. 

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