Successful failure, STEM, Classroom, Skeletal system,

A safe place to fail

When you give to Cookson Hills Christian School you are not only giving the students a fantastic education, you are also giving them a safe place to mess up. When a problem gets too hard they are encouraged to continue to try again rather than give up. Because of you, our students are learning to think critically and engage in problem-solving that allows them to acquire skills for lifelong learning. 

Tyler* thrives in this “mistakes-welcome” environment. At the beginning of the year, things were tough. When he didn’t get something right the first time he was frustrated and wanted to give up. But every time Andrea VanSandt, our middle school science and social studies teacher, talked him through the process and allowed him to brainstorm a new solution. 


Months later Tyler* put together a balloon-powered car but it only moved an inch. He knew there was a better way. So he used his resources, watched videos to gain more knowledge, gathered supplies, and spent a few days creating something that worked much better. 

In a matter of months, Tyler* has new confidence in his abilities. He is now able to think toward a better solution and not give up. Because you have given him a classroom where he is not criticized for failure, he will continue trying, learning, exploring, and reaching further than ever. 


Andrea has seen the most growth in her STEM classes (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). In those classes, she is teaching problem solving and perseverance. The assignments are not about “Was your idea successful?” It’s more about, “How many ways did you try?” This helps the students become comfortable with making mistakes, because that is where growth happens. There is freedom in trying new things and that builds confidence, which our students desperately need.

On their fifth attempt to create the tallest paper structure, the eighth grade girls more than tripled the height of their tower. When you support our kids, you help them build beautiful futures.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Lauren Hard is the Impact Coordinator for Cookson Hills. She shares stories with people who like to hear stories.

* Name has been changed to allow privacy of the student.