The Northstar School | Northstar Habits of Mind

Northstar Habits of Mind

The Northstar Habits of Mind (HoM) consist of 12 skills, or dispositions, that will help students deal with challenges and thrive both academically and in life beyond school. The understanding and application of these 12 Habits of Mind enable students to work through real life situations with intentional strategies to lead a positive and fulfilling life.

Forming habits take time and effort. The Northstar School’s exploratory project-based approach to education provides rich opportunities for students to expand not only their knowledge and repertoire of technical skills but also to hone their thinking tools and strategies in the process. By exercising the Habits of Mind across a variety of contexts and problem areas, students build and strengthen these mental resources and experience their usefulness in different settings. Students learn how to be sensitive to contextual cues in order to select the most appropriate habit for any given situation.

The Habits of Mind are crucial to a person’s development and at The Northstar School we value them as much as we value subject-specific learning and grading. This is evident from the progress reports where HoMs figure prominently. Parents are involved as partners in achieving our mission of equipping all students with the capacity to confront and deal with complex real life conditions and uncertainties with intentionality, insightfulness and resourcefulness.

The Northstar Habits of Mind support the development of the Northstar Learner Attributes – six  attributes we believe our learners need in order to thrive in an ever-changing, interconnected global community. By practicing the Habits of Mind, we aim for every student to embody the following attributes once they graduate from our learning community:


Creative Problem Solver

Imagination | Perseverance | Critical Thinking


  • Applying one’s imagination and critical thinking skills when evaluating challenges and generating solutions
  • Having the perseverance and confidence to overcome difficulties through trial and error

Empathetic Collaborator

Cooperation | Appreciation 


  • Appreciating the perspectives of others and seeking first to understand, then to be understood
  • Approaching collaboration from a point of cooperation, not competition, by doing what is best for the group

Compassionate Citizens

Responsibility | Initiative | Appreciation 


  • Being appreciative and accommodating towards the beliefs and value systems of others in one’s local and global communities
  • Taking responsibility for the well-being of society at large by demonstrating awareness of civic rights and responsibilities and actively promoting justice through social initiatives

Effective Communicator

Adaptability | Eloquence | Authenticity 


  • Expressing one’s ideas in fluent, precise and compelling ways across various mediums
  • Adapting one’s communication to any given context to ensure congruence between the audience, medium and message to be delivered without compromising with one’s authenticity

Lifelong Learner

Curiosity | Reflection 


  • Reflecting to understand oneself as a learner and how one can best acquire new insight
  • Showing curiosity and pursuing understanding in order to keep growing one’s perspective and abilities throughout one’s lifetime

Systems Thinker

Interdependence | Causality 


  • Recognising and understanding the interdependence of elements, events and phenomena.



I use my senses and emotional intelligence to perceive the nuances of situations around me to make sure I act appropriately in different contexts


I can use language with fluency and aptness to achieve my desired effect


  • I know myself well and pursue the things in life that matter to me
  • I act in ways that are aligned with my values


I work with others to advance our joint goals.

Critical thinking

  • I analyze and evaluate an issue objectively in order to form a judgement.
  • I take into account the complexity of real world systems in my considerations


  • I give thought and consideration to my decisions and actions.
  • I learn from both my mistakes and successes by carefully evaluating them.


  • I cherish the experiences, perspectives and ideas of others.
  • I feel confident about my own worth and my qualities.
  • I find joy in the little things and look for the positive in situations.


  • I respond to the world with wonderment and have a strong desire to know and learn new things.
  • I question the things I don’t understand.


I do not give up doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.


I strive to conceive new ideas and concepts in everything I do.


I take ownership of my actions and behave in ways that are both socially, economically and environmentally sustainable


  • I possess a readiness and confidence for action.
  • I independently assess and seize opportunities to act even before others do.


I consider the interconnectedness and mutual dependence of things, people, processes and systems


I employ thinking and reasoning that enables me to make predictions and to diagnose the causes of observed events

I use my reasoning to predict and diagnose the causes of events around me