Each month our committee submits an article to the Prevention Pointers Section of the The Resorter supported by the Waushara Prevention Council. Our mission is to communicate to our local families the seven traits celebrated and recognized in our schools as well as provide some ideas on how to instill the character traits in our homes.
April Character Education: Teaching Cooperation
The Wautoma Area School District is highlighting the character trait, Cooperation, in the month of April. Cooperation is letting go of something you may want for the good of the group. Building this kind of team spirit in our youth will require patience. Cooperation is a skill that requires repeated practice to become a habit. Model cooperation, have children practice it and praise them to help instill cooperation as a lifelong skill. Here are some things you can do with the children in your care to help them learn the skill of cooperation.
Be prepared to alter your expectations for children based
on their age and developmental abilities.
A child who is 3 years old won’t be capable of doing everything that a
child at 6 or 7 years old can. Knowing
what your children are capable of developmentally keeps you from having unreachable
expectations that doom the children to failure and you to frustration.
March Character Education: Teaching Integrity
The Wautoma Area School District is celebrating the character trait, INTEGRITY, throughout the month of March. Demonstrating integrity means to stand up for your beliefs about right and wrong; be your best self; and resist social pressure to do wrong. Being a person of integrity means you walk your talk by living up to your highest ethical values. It means you always try to do what’s right even in tough situations, and you don’t let temptation compromise your values. (www.essentiallifeskills.net/charactertraits and www.goodcharacter.com/ISOC/Integrity)
Teaching your children good values and integrity is one of the gifts that you can give them that they will keep for the rest of their lives. By teaching your children integrity, you will not only be making their lives better, but you will be improving the life of everybody who comes in contact with your child.
Here are some tips you can follow to help teach a child how to live their life with integrity:
Encourage Truthfulness-Being truthful and honest at all times is an important part of integrity. You can help your child learn to tell the truth by making sure that you always make them feel comfortable sharing the truth with you.
Set a Good Example-One of the best ways of teaching your child about integrity is to model it yourself. If you tell your child you are going to do something, always strive to keep your word. Children learn from what their parents do, so make sure that when your child watches you, they are observing the same type of integrity that you would like them to learn.
Show Love for Others-Children that observe hate when they are growing up are more likely to learn hatred as opposed to love. Teach your children that everybody deserves consideration and love as a human being.
Teach Tolerance-Children that grow up surrounded by tolerance learn to accept other as they are. Make sure that your children understand that you do not tolerate prejudice or racism and that they understand that not everybody has to think in the exact same way that they do.
February Character Education: Teaching Leadership
The Wautoma Area School District is celebrating the character trait, LEADERSHIP. A leader motivates and guides others toward a common goal. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of our nation’s most influential leaders and through his example we can teach our children to become positive leaders of our community.
Dr. King had strong communication skills. His famous "I Have a Dream" speech inspired and motivated others to stand up to the injustice of segregation and inequality. Public speaking can be difficult, so having children participate in class discussions and take on the leadership role in small groups will be beneficial. Practicing listening skills in all situations is also vital because communication is a two-way street.
Dr. King was courageous. He willingly risked his life in the fight for Civil Rights. Instead of sitting idly by and allowing a bully to hurt others, a leader can discourage the bully from continuing their harmful behavior or even report that bully to an adult. Our children can also show courage by taking risks and offering new ideas to a group even if those ideas seem outside of the box.
Finally, Dr. King was a problem solver. Although there was a lot of opposition, King facilitated nonviolent demonstrations across the country in the fight for equality. Every obstacle was met with another solution in the quest for equal rights. Children can develop problem solving skills by role playing different scenarios. Brainstorming a variety of solutions and evaluating each solution will help students understand the process of solving problems.
January Character Education: Teaching Determination
January's character trait is determination. Determination is a positive personal character trait. A person with determination is someone hwo is earnest or unwavering in his or her purpose. If there is something this person wants to do, he or she will not give up easily or get distracted by something else. Some people give up too easily. If you are determined to achieve a worthwhile goal, you will reap the rewards. (http://www.school-for-champions.com/character/determination.htm)
Determination is a value that you can encourage from a very young age. The easiest way to do so is by avoiding excessive praise and by providing children with honest feedback, delivered in a gentle, supportive fashion.(http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/5-values-you-should-teach-your-child-by-age-five/?page=3
Another powerful way to help kids develop determination is to encourage them to do things that don't come easily-and to praise them for their initiative .If your son is shy, for instance, quietly encourage him to approach kids on the playground, even if it makes him feel nervous and scared. If your daughter is quick to blow a fuse, teach her strategies (such as counting to ten or taking a deep breath) for holding back a temper tantrum. Congratulate kids when they manage to do things that are difficult for them. The child who hears "Good for you, I know that was really tough!" is bolstered by the recognition and becomes even more determined to keep trying.
December Character Education: Teaching Empathy
December character trait is EMPATHY. Empathy is the action of understanding or being aware of another person’s thoughts, feelings and or experiences. One of the most powerful ways to teach children empathy is to be empathetic yourself. While having patience with small children can be difficult, it’s important to stay as calm as you can when they misbehave. As children get older, they can learn empathy from you as you express interest in their experiences and listen carefully as they talk, reflecting back to them what they say and asking them questions that help them clarify their feelings and thoughts. As their own empathy grows because of your modeling, they’ll be more able to relate deeply to others. (BYU Magazine, 2007)
Quick Tips to Teach Empathy
1. Kindness is “caught not taught”. Children will copy YOU! They watch to see how you treat others.
2. Praise your child’s small steps…sharing a toy, getting a band aide, noticing another’s feelings etc.
3. Encourage your child to think of others.
4. Give your child jobs. Research shows that as your child takes on simple responsibilities they learn about caring and altruism. Feeding the dog, setting the table, picking up after him/herself etc.
5. Involve your child in charitable activities. Donate toys, books. Send a picture to Grandparents, a sick friend or a teacher. Prepare a meal and deliver to someone ill or with a new baby etc. Explain your helping behavior. (www.emotioncompany.com)
November Character Education: Teaching Respect
Wautoma Area School District Character Education Initiative is highlighting 7 character traits throughout the school year. A trait is introduced at the beginning of the month in each building and then activities related to the trait are carried out throughout the month. Each school is including parents and community members to work collaboratively with the staff to implement the character education program. One way the schools are doing this is by inviting parents and community leaders into the schools. Another way is to write articles and share resources with the community on ways they can help develop character in our youngest citizens. Each month you will find tips from various resources on how to develop character in children here in the Prevention Pointer section of the Resorter.
November character trait is RESPECT. Respect for self, respect for others, respect for property, respect of country and respect for nature are good ways to break down this pretty large concept. Teaching manners is a great place to start with young children. Saying please and thank you, addressing adults as Mr. and Ms. (Miss, Mrs.) are some examples of teaching respect for others. Letting children know their feelings, thoughts and opinions are important to their family and others around them helps children have respect for self. The number one way for children to learn respect is to see respect from their parents, coaches, teachers, and other adults. When adults show respect to their partners, parents, friends and the children themselves, children will imitate their role models.