Giving Praise Too Early Rather than Too Late

I recently had the pleasure of having Laurie McIntosh on the podcast, and she has so many great ideas about education and life in general.  One of the things that she is known for is the concept of “D.N.A.,” which stands for “Dreams, Needs, and Abilities.” 

She shares a lot about the idea on our podcast, but you can also read more about it in one of her posts on the subject. 

Here are the questions she asks her students in line with the idea:


Dreams: What do you wonder about? What do you hope to learn about in kindergarten? Where do you want to go in your life?

Needs: How can I help you? How can I be a better teacher for you?

Abilities: What are you AMAZING at?


Not only does she ask the questions, but she has great ideas on how to use the information to really create a powerful learning experience for kids.

Make sure you connect with Laurie on her Instagram to learn more about her and her work!



As we talked about this and other ideas, I have been really thinking about the importance of focusing on the “Dreams, Needs, and Abilities” of adults.  We cannot do our best for kids if we are not taking care of the adults.  

In one of the snippets from the podcast, I share the following.



How often do we wish that we would have given the compliment after it’s too late to do so? How many times do we wish we would have tried to make amends with a friend or family member and then realize the chance is no longer there?  How many times did we miss out on acknowledging the value of a staff member in our schools that decides they don’t feel valued and move to another school or even a different career? 

I remember when my father died, a friend of mine reached out immediately.  We actually had a falling out, and instead of letting that get in the way, she was one of the first people to connect with me, and things have been great ever since. I was so grateful for that moment, and I have tried to be better about it myself. I have a lot of growing to do, but Laurie reminded me how important it is that we take the time to acknowledge those that make a difference in our lives authentically.

You can watch the podcast clip here.  It was a good reminder for me as well.

Thank you for all that you do for education!



Scroll to Top

Changing the Trajectories of Those We Serve​

Join over 40,000 Educators who already get the Newsletter