What could be better than knowing we have a chance to make a difference in the lives of our students? We are contributing to the development of their values, morals, and character and we may not even realize what an honor that is. The early childhood years are an important time to lay the foundation of character development. During the school day, our teachers have countless opportunities to build trusting relationships with our students, introduce core ethical values, and foster the elements of developing good character. This is an important role we are charged with, as influencing character development will have an impact on our students’ future. Whether it be guiding our students through behaviors that are right and wrong, helping them learn to problem solve, creating an environment that fosters a sense of belonging, or exposing them to opportunities that build resilience, is a privilege we, at All Saints’, do not take lightly. We are committed to shaping and molding the character of our students.
It is such joy to spend our days with children showing kindness, using good manners, and respecting themselves and others. This will happen with the vital implementation of character education. It begins with introducing the key elements of having good character and then modeling, practicing, and praising the positive behaviors. When our students leave our preschool and transition into their journey of a formal school experience, we want them to be able to empathize with others, to be equipped to deal with challenges, to be able to identify, acknowledge, and express their feelings, and to value themselves, others, and the world in which they live. As a result, we believe it is essential there is an emphasis on character development in the formative years of Early Childhood education, as well as a partnership with our parents. We can have a significant impact on the future of our little ones by creating a culture of positive character development in our school.
There are a variety of ways we can be intentional about weaving in opportunities to develop good character. Our school days start with Chapel, which is a time to gather together, sing, worship, and hear stories directly related to kindness, sacrifice for others, and forgiveness. Service-based learning is another way we promote elements of giving, respect, and thoughtfulness. Our students make cards for Meals on Wheels and a local nursing home. In collaboration with a school-wide project, Project Empathy, our early childhood families collect socks and blankets to donate to the homeless. In an effort to encourage respect for the school community and environment around us, we walk around areas of the campus and pick up trash. We also create a kindness chain, in which students are given a piece of colored construction paper that serves as a link to the chain, when they exhibit an act of kindness. Our Early Childhood Division uses a set of 20 Simple Lessons as a guide to instilling lessons of character development in our young learners. The result is a more intentional approach to helping our students develop the skill set needed to be people of purpose and consequence in the world!