IN THIS ARTICLE:
– Welcome: “Character Education – A key life skills component”
– Feature: “The five “W’s” of Character Education”
– Teacher/Parent Book Pick: “Character Education Grades K-6”
– K-3 Book Pick: “If you had to choose, what would you do?”
– 4-6 Book Pick: “A Call to Character – A Family Treasury”
– Web Discoveries: “Character Education on the web”
– Words of Wisdom: “From some famous characters”
– Life Skills Resources: Quick Links
WELCOME: “Character Education – A key life skills component”
Life skills lessons start by enriching each child’s self-awareness. Building a positive self-image and motivating children to take responsibility for their health and happiness sets the foundation.
The next step is guiding children to healthy interactions with other people. Good “character” is the essence needed to respect oneself and others. To meet this need, Character Education is becoming more and more popular in US schools.
This month’s newsletter describes the Character Education concept and provides resources to help bring it to your children and students.
With best regards,
Kent Davis – Editor
FEATURE: “The five “W’s” of Character Education”
Adapted from the CEP website by Kent Davis
Here’s a quick introduction to Character Education:
Character Education develops moral character and civic virtue in our children as an essential way of promoting a more compassionate and responsible society.
Character education lessons use a variety of techniques to teach positive character traits in schools and communities. These lessons help children know what is right or good, understand it, and act accordingly. The goal is to build core ethical values such as respect, responsibility, honesty, and caring and thereby help our children grow into virtuous adults. Hopefully, most children receive positive lessons in values at home. Character Education in school helps to strengthen these lessons.
Developing good character in children is primarily the responsibility of families, but it is also the shared responsibility of communities, schools, religious institutions, and youth service groups.
Teachers, principals, school administrators, and community leaders across the nation are reinforcing parents’ efforts to teach good character traits to children. Those who recognize the value in providing the nation’s children with a strong foundation for becoming ethical, responsible, kind and caring adults are involved in the character education movement by implementing character education in their classrooms and communities.
Although character education is a rapidly growing movement, it is not the latest buzzword or trend. It is what parents and teachers have been doing for centuries to help children mature into well-adjusted, happy adults. Today’s character education movement recaptures the historic role of schools as both moral and academic educators.
Schools throughout the country are working together with their communities to foster character development through their school culture, curricula, and extra-curricular activities.
To be most effective, character education must be a unified effort of school staff, parents, and community members. Character education is not an “add-on” program. Character education is included in our Life Skills lesson plans, and is infused into a school’s standard curriculum.
More than ever, schools need to help develop good character in children. Far too often in today’s culture, concern for individual rights isn’t balanced by responsibility to our families, communities, nation and planet.
Moral decline affects all of society, but it has a particularly devastating impact on our youth. In recent years, youth crime, violence, pregnancy, and substance abuse have reached record levels.
Factors such as emphasis on materialism, egotism of the “me-first” society, media glorification of sex and violence, family breakdown, racial injustice, and poverty, have created formidable obstacles for our children.
They are not receiving the nurturing that past generations received, and as a result, we increasingly see children who are unsure about what is right and what is wrong.
Character education will help our children do better by creating school environments that are conducive to learning. Character education will help you guide your children to be caring, humane, peaceful, and respectful.
TEACHER/PARENT BOOK PICKS
by John Heidel, Marion Lyman-Mersereau,
Jennifer E. Janke (Editor)
This is the first book of a four book series that presents a comprehensive two-year character education program. The values taught include respect, responsibility, compassion, honesty and humility. The lessons teach that good character isn’t just about knowing the good and loving the good; it is also about *doing* the good. The authors demonstrate the lessons effectively with stories from spiritual traditions and folktales from around the world. Each lesson includes values defined in ten other languages, discussion questions, proverbs and maxims, heroes and heroines, how to put the value into action, and community service ideas. This book is a great addition to any education or home-schooling library.
GRADE K-3 BOOK PICK
by Sandra McLeod Humphrey, Brian Strassburg (Illustrator)
It’s never too early start talking about personal values with children. Evaluating situations and sharing opinions is the most powerful way you can help children define their own code of moral conduct. This book presents twenty-five interesting problem situations. The author developed these to help you talk to your children about values in an enjoyable, natural way. These vignettes will help your children develop problem-solving skills that will help them grow.
GRADE 4-6 BOOK PICK
“A Call to Character: A Family Treasury of Stories, Poems, Plays, Proverbs, and Fables to Guide the Development of Values for You and Your Children” by Colin Greer (Editor), Herbert Kohl (Editor)
Do you love anthologies, too? Collections like this insure that there will be something interesting for all ages and interests. This 480-page book includes 217 selections that emphasize self-discovery and character development. The editors chose the items to illustrate courage, honesty, fairness, responsibility, compassion, empathy, generosity and love. Take a peek!
WEB DISCOVERIES: for teachers, parents & kids
The CEP is a nonpartisan coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to developing moral character and civic virtue in our nation’s youth as one means of creating a more compassionate and responsible society. Members are dedicated to the idea that character and education are natural partners in helping children become ethical, responsible adults. The CEP promotes core ethical values such as respect, responsibility, and honesty. They offer a resource center, a variety of publications, media support and a national forum (see below) to help educators implement these positive values.
This website is run by the Northeast Foundation for Children (NEFC), a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the improvement of K-8 teaching and promoting their vision of schools as respectful learning communities. Two terrific links within this site appear below.
The site’s resources provide ideas for:
* creating a sense of community
* making school a place students want to come
* developing students’ sense of respect and social responsibility
* encouraging active learning and deep and critical thinking
* understanding students’ development.
There’s a great selection of books, audio tapes and videos for parents and classroom teachers here. This months featured book? “The I Can’t Sing Book for Grownups Who Can’t Carry a Tune in a Paper Bag” (-:
This page has some *great* articles available for *free download.* They are in the Adobe PDF format, just like the free lesson plans at LifeSkills4Kids.com. Here are a few examples for elementary educators:
* Cooperative Contests – Competitions that build community
* Let’s Do Lunch! – How to make eating fun, orderly and educational
* A Conflict Resolution Protocol for Elementary Classrooms
* A Harry Potter Potion Party; The Story Comes Alive
WORDS OF WISDOM: From some famous characters!
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th-century American essayist and poet
“Why are we surprised when fig trees bear figs?”
“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively
and to think critically…
Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Prize-winning 20th-century American civil rights leader
“The measure of a man’s character is what he would do
if he knew he never would be found out.”
Baron Thomas Babington Macauley, Early 19th-century English historian
“The formation of character in young people
is educationally a different task from and a prior task to,
the discussion of the great, difficult ethical controversies
of the day.”
William J. Bennett, Former U.S. Secretary of Education
“If a man has any greatness in him, it comes to light,
not in one flamboyant hour, but in the ledger
of his daily work.”
Beryl Markham, 20th-century English adventurer & author
“Be honorable yourself if you wish to associate with honorable people.”