Recognizing Character Traits
There are two aspects of recognizing character traits in action that are important in early learning. First, is the ability of children to observe and identify character traits as they are being displayed? To promote this, teachers can facilitate activities that ask children to identify character traits that people are demonstrating in photos, videos, or other images. These materials can be gathered from families, pulled from newspaper or magazine stories, or found in books and online.
To identify character traits, children need to be exposed to the language associated with different traits, including synonyms and antonyms (when appropriate). Language should be adapted to meet the needs of the children in the group. Some children may be ready for the word appreciation and other children may better understand thanks or thankful.
The second element is the way in which children are recognized for demonstrating character in the classroom. Teachers should make a point of recognizing when children are using their character traits in daily situations. Simple statements often suffice. For example, “I noticed that you shared some of your blocks with Sammie. That was very generous of you.”
Teachers can create a special place in the classroom where pictures and stories of children using character traits can be highlighted. This could be a Character Star of the Day display or an entire bulletin board that holds examples of the amazing character being used in the learning environment. Children should be encouraged to recognize their peers for demonstrating character traits, either verbally or on a posted story of the encounter on the Character Board. These stories should include the children’s language whenever possible, including a connection to the emotions that they experienced during the encounter.
Teachers can focus children’s attention by prompting them to look for and report back any sightings of cooperation that they see their peers display. The same can be done as a weekend project for families. Then children can return to school with a few stories to share about how cooperation is done at home.
Think of the old adage – You get what you focus on. Make it a point to focus on not only successful displays of character, but efforts that fall short. As with most skills, full development requires practice. These are not skills that young children will master in preschool or even elementary school. It takes a lot of time, discussion, and practice to solidify the character traits that will guide children in the future. Early childhood is a great time to play with these important concepts.
For the article main article Strengthening Character Traits, CLICK HERE
For the article Exploring Character Traits, CLICK HERE
For the article Practicing Character Traits, CLICK HERE
For the article Director’s Corner – Focusing on Character at all Levels, CLICK HERE