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Can teaching kids to resist the marshmallow help pave the way to success?

Posted on January 8, 2015 // KIPP Aspire Academy, KIPP Camino Academy, KIPP Esperanza, KIPP Un Mundo, KIPP University Prep,

JUDY WOODRUFF: Whether you’re 5, 15, or 50 years old, one of the hardest things to deal with in life can be exercising willpower and making a sacrifice in the short term in order to achieve something of greater value later.

It is one of those commonly accepted life lessons, but now it turns out there are more organized efforts to teach it to children. Our economics correspondent Paul Solman has the story, part of his ongoing reporting Making Sense of financial news.

LEYLA BRAVO-WILLEY, Teacher, KIPP Infinity Middle School: Clap twice. Put up your right hand. Put up your left hand. Put up your right hand.

PAUL SOLMAN: This is the KIPP Infinity Middle School in New York City’s Harlem, where, in addition to the three R’s, these predominantly poor fifth graders study character to maximize success in later life, qualities like grit and gratitude, optimism and curiosity, zest and social intelligence, and one skill above all.

LEYLA BRAVO-WILLEY: What is this talking about, don’t eat the marshmallow? Brittany in the back.

STUDENT: Self-control?…

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