Practicing Character Traits
There are tons of opportunities for children to demonstrate character traits in spontaneous situations but it is important to give them a chance to practice these skills, as you would any other developmental skill.
Role-playing and acting out scenarios with small groups of children can help children associate specific actions that align with different character traits. Teachers can pose questions to children such as “What would you do if you saw a friend struggling with their coat zipper?” or “What would happen if someone asked you to tell a lie?” Children could then act out how they might respond. Depending on the age of the children in the group, an entire play could be created based on these types of prompts. See where the children take it!
Games are another way that children can practice character traits. Teachers can set up games and other activities that require children to problem solve, work together, or share materials. These activities can be related solely to character education activities. Teachers can also integrate elements of cooperation, empathy, and generosity into academic or curriculum-related activities.
Service projects are another way for children to strengthen their developing skills. Projects that collect money, goods, and materials for a cause can be a great way for children to put character into action. A used toy or book drive helps children make a direct impact on their community and feel the pride and positive emotions associated with helping others.
As children gain experience using their character traits, they may choose to put them on display for others. Ambitious groups may put on a character talent show for younger children. They might also be interested in organizing a party or carnival where the games are designed to help younger children learn about character development.
Children will explore both desirable and less than desirable character-related behaviors. When children make poor choices, such as taking something that does not belong to them or telling a lie, teachers should focus on the character education lesson rather than punishing the child. Processing situations with a character education focus can help children connect to the feelings of others and the impact of their decisions. Simply punishing a child for these decisions is a missed opportunity to help the child make different decisions in the future.
For the main article Strengthening Character Traits, CLICK HERE
For the article Exploring Character Traits, CLICK HERE
For the article Recognizing Character Traits, CLICK HERE
For the article Director’s Corner – Focusing on Character at all Levels, CLICK HERE