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Developing Character in Young Children: The Value of a Virtues Education

Developing Character in Young Children: The Value of a Virtues Education | Twin Cities Mom Collective“Who you are inside is what helps you make and do everything in life.”

~Fred Rogers

Preparing young children to be successful in school and life requires much more than teaching ABCs and 1-2-3s. Successful students demonstrate emotional intelligence; they have well-developed social skills that enable them to fully participate in their classroom environments. Early childhood programs with dedicated character building curriculum prepare the whole child to navigate the world beyond pre-K.

When asked what they had learned in preschool, last year’s graduates of Bloom’s pre-K class shared:

“I learned my numbers and letters.“

“I learned to write my name.”

And, “I learned cooperation.”

The latter is not something you might expect to hear from a five-year-old, but it is a direct result of the program’s vision to build character and responsibility alongside academic skills.

Bloom uses The Virtues Project TM, which was developed to empower educators to create caring and high performing learning communities and to equip parents to raise children of compassion and integrity. The Virtues Project was honored by the United Nations during the Year of the Family as a “model global program for families of all cultures.” Virtues are taught to the children at Bloom Early Learning through stories, activities and puppet shows while being modeled to them by their teachers. Each month, a different virtue, such as cooperation, is introduced. Among the others are:

  • Patience
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Gentleness
  • Generosity
  • Courtesy
  • Trust
  • Assertiveness
  • Flexibility
  • Tolerance
  • Love
  • Orderliness

“Virtues education not only shows young children what these positive character traits look like,” said Mary Olsen, Center Director at Bloom, “it also builds their vocabulary to help them better express their feelings and understand how their actions impact others.”

When children develop an understanding of the language of virtues, educators are able to build on it and guide, acknowledge and correct behavior. The outcome sets children up to be joyful learners who can more easily adjust in a variety of settings.

The value of virtues education is not limited to school. Families that embrace it discover that it helps their children at home and in social settings:

“Hmmm… it looks like we may need to be flexible and choose something else from the menu,” commented one young father to his preschool children, who were chanting for their typical go-to, chicken tenders, at a local restaurant. “So that can be a good thing,” he continued. “We get to try something new and that will be fun!” 

Not only did the dad successfully redirect his children using virtues vocabulary, he also praised the children for being flexible when they went on to make an alternative choice.

Early childhood programs and families that teach and model virtues establish the pillars of character in young children that are the foundation for successful lives. In the words of Mister Rogers, “Who you are inside helps you make and do everything in life.”

At Bloom Early Learning & Child Care, we value virtues education for young children and strive to build character every day! Find out more by visiting #WhyChooseBloom

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