Achieved: Goal Setting for Students (and How to Celebrate)


Goal setting is a learned skill, and one all students can benefit from. Understanding specific goals and deadlines instills confidence and manifests success. It’s also a wonderful self esteem builder, as students recognize their accomplishments and give themselves well-deserved congratulations for the hard work they’ve put in.

Setting goals and tracking progress for students

Life stagnates without progress; there’s no better way to set up a fulfilling life than knowing what you want out of it. In that sense, goal setting is one of the most important skills students can develop to further and enrich their day-to-day life. Your student deserves a life filled with meaningful, intentful success. We all do!

Defined goals allow children to distinguish value and advancement, and celebrate these revelations along the way. Meeting goals provides purpose and rewards kids with the satisfaction of victory; it also teaches time management and personal efficiency.

What makes for an effective goal?

The purpose of the goal will always detail the efforts within. Long-term goals and short-term goals both require a different kind of planning, and often it takes multiple short-term goals to bring a long-term goal to fruition. Encourage your student to understand the reason behind the goal, how long they have to accomplish it, and the steps to get there. Help them create a plan for their goal.

Help your child think about the reasonableness of their goal? An important element to effective goals is a realistic approach. Students who bite off more than they can chew will soon find themselves frustrated. Guide students in creating sensible goals, and to track their progress along the way.

Ask them things like: 

  • How are you doing with your goal?
  • Are there ways you can improve your plan?

Asking these questions reaffirms intent and boosts overall success.

SMART goals for students

SMART goals allow us to plan in an intelligent and purposeful way. SMART goals are:

SMART goals take stray concepts and desires and turn them into courses of action; “I want to improve my reading comprehension” can become “Starting tomorrow, I will dedicate 30 minutes out of my day reading for the next six months.”

Building on goals

Goal setting is a never ending process; as there is always room to grow as a student. For instance, if your child wants to get good at a certain instrument, they’ll need to learn multiple skills along the way. Harmony and rhythm are two different concepts that eventually must intertwine, informing and strengthening each other as each is developed.

Using SMART goals provides a quantifiable, trackable status.

If your child is following the plan, then they’re meeting their SMART goal. What’s nice about this scenario in particular is that you can also help them gauge whether or not their SMART goal is contributing to their long term goal.

Did 30 minutes of reading a day help? If not, how else can this problem be approached? Perhaps adding another 30 minutes or quizzing on the reading material at the end of each segment will help with reading comprehension.

SMART goals are an easy way for students to improve their skills in goal setting, as well as recognize the benefits over time as they alter and change their goals to suit their current needs.

Creating reward systems and celebrating progress for student goals

Celebrating progress is imperative to happiness. A student who feels the pressure to move on to the next project without reflecting on the last doesn’t fully understand their progress; and they may not realize how proud they should be. Hard work should come with a reward system, not just as a motivator, but as a reminder to love themselves and accept triumph.

At the end of any goal, celebrate their effort. Rewards can be as simple as taking some extra time to watch their favorite movie, a special night out with mom or dad, or an extra playdate with peers. The important thing is, you’ve taken time to recognize your child’s success, the time they put into it, and why that should make them proud of themselves.

Goals are meant to drive us forward, and it means a lot to acknowledge to your child what they accomplished. Goal setting should include a consistent note of appreciation and self congratulation to mark new achievements along the way.

Academic Planning at Laurel Springs School

Setting goals can be a difficult process to learn, and help along the way should be welcomed and encouraged. Laurel Springs School offers a vibrant system of support, as well as academic planning for each of our students. At Laurel Springs, students are introduced to vital skills like time management and mastery-based learning, positioning them for success as they move through each grade level and onto the next. With this robust foundation underneath each learner, Laurel Springs promotes individual success, helping each student set and meet goals throughout their time in K-12.