The Sweet Spot for Learning 

We’ve all set goals, to some degree, throughout our lives. Some were easily achieved while others we just gave up on completing. This is because most plans are either set in the comfort or danger zones. And while our initial motivation generally puts us on a path to setting lofty goals, it can lead us to failure. Finding a balance between these zones is critical in increasing productivity and avoiding stagnation. The “SKILLZ zone” is the optimal place to do this. By teaching children this early on, we can ensure they have the tools for consistent future success. 

We are all very familiar with the comfort zone. This is where we feel secure and have the skills to help us maintain the status quo. Many people spend much time in this zone because it doesn’t require much change. This is also the place that we withdraw to when we feel panicked or overwhelmed. Although feeling safe is essential, the comfort zone doesn’t allow us space to grow, so we become indifferent to expanding ourselves. This essentially blocks us from learning new skills that benefit our growth

On the opposite side of the comfort zone is the danger zone. We feel completely overwhelmed and out of control in this zone, so only surviving takes all our attention and effort. This often happens to those who set goals so far from their current abilities that they become overwhelmed and panicked. Because we are “wired to survive,” these uncomfortable feelings cause us to retreat to our comfort zone, and any possibility of new skill achievement comes to an abrupt standstill. We are then, once more, faced with apathy for anything challenging. 

The key to breaking free from this cycle and setting challenging goals yet attainable, is to form one in the “SKILLZ zone.” This is the zone where dreams are not so far off that we are too scared to try but are also not close enough to be too easily achievable. Therefore, new skills are just out of our reach, making it the sweet spot for learning. For children to settle into the “SKILLZ zone,” they must feel the environment is safe and supportive. 

In the SKILLZ Child Development program, this zone is the foundation of the program’s design. Since each class is age-specific, the starting point and goals are based on appropriate physical, intellectual, emotional, and social development expectations for that age group. This, coupled with the game-based approach to learning, creates a fun yet challenging environment. Also, the Certified Pediatric Ninja Specialists that run each class utilize their knowledge of science and psychology and Teaching SKILLZ to establish an environment that makes each student feel safe. All this combined makes the achievement system of earning stripes and belts enjoyable and gives each student more confidence to set the next goal

Learning new skills and abilities should be enjoyable, and getting there should come from engaging in activities where we feel safe enough to try something beyond our current limitations while also not going overboard. Consistent progress towards these things opens up a child’s curiosity about what else they can achieve. By doing this, we are helping them always challenge themselves, giving them the power to achieve anything they want. 


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