The positive impact of ‘I can’ statements

We all need that little extra encouragement sometimes, and for children it can mean they gain the confidence they need to achieve their potential. An ‘I can’ statement is something which can help the child to know that they are doing well and give them that boost they need.

‘I can’ statements are often used to create a child friendly curriculum and encourage pupils in a variety of ways. It could simply be a comment in their work books, or part of an exercise to boost confidence, but positive statements can be a very useful tools for both teachers and parents, as well as the pupils themselves.

i can statements

They are clear set targets that help the child to know what to work towards, and parents/teachers to know how they can help them to achieve those goals.

An advantage of ‘I can’ statements is that the child can see how they are progressing, and have a visual representation of their work. This can help them to break down large or challenging tasks into more manageable sections. This not only helps to make the task appear less daunting, but also pinpoint specific skills, such as ‘I can count to 100’, which they can then use to progress further.

If the child has specific goals that they know they have reached, it will help them to gain the confidence to tackle more complex problems, and encourage them to feel that they have the knowledge and skills to achieve them. 

The use of these statements is not confined to the classroom however, and the integration of these into home life can really help a child to feel confident. Using the same type of phrases they would hear at school, such as ‘I can use a microscope/magnifying glass’ or ‘I can measure lengths and heights and write my results in centimetres and metres’, home activities can be approached in this way as well. Phrases such as ‘I can tidy up after myself’ or ‘I can help mum and dad with dinner’ will get children used to hearing these phrases and make them want to achieve them.

If your children are finding a specific subject difficult, you can also include an incentive to complete each ‘I can’ statement. You could make a list 20 phrases, and each time they achieve 5 they can have a treat of some kind. It could be something simple like a copy of their favourite magazine, but it will not only give them an incentive to achieve the goal, but they will also have a ‘prize’ as a representation of their hard work.

These phrases can also help children to improve and develop their social skills. Statements such as ‘I can give instructions to my friend and follow their instructions’ will teach them how to work together and interact to achieve a common goal. This one in particular also helps the child to develop their communication skills.

i can statement

The statements don’t only have to be based on physical tasks, they can also be adapted to develop other social skills as well. An example of this is ‘I can learn to take responsibility for my actions and learning’, which could be used to help children who misbehave or find it hard to concentrate during lessons. Although this sounds like the kind of thing that would be used for ‘lines’ in the old days, if these are combined with the more academic tasks, it shows the child that qualities, such as taking responsibility, are just are important as the subjects themselves.

TargetMaps are a great way to integrate these statements into the curriculum, to not only make it child friendly, but also to help parents and teachers get a clear understanding of the child’s progress. They combine ‘I can’ statements with manageable tasks in a variety of subjects to set clear objectives throughout the year and to help children to see the progress they are making.

‘I can’ statements can be used in a variety of ways within the curriculum and as part of a child’s everyday life to not only help them to thrive at school but learn social and personal skills as well. They provide a clear and achievable path for the child and offer a visual representation of their progress. They are also useful for parents and teachers as they highlight areas where more support may be needed. Whether a child requires them for just one subject or all of their educational needs, they are a fun and effective way to give them the support they need to achieve their potential.


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