Character education is an educational movement that supports the social, emotional and ethical development of students and is a shared responsibility by all including family, schools and community. Schools have an opportunity to play a very important role in developing empathy and creating a supportive environment for children. After all, children spend an average of 900-1000 hours per year at school. As educators, it is imperative that we recognize this precious time we have with children and understand that we are not just teaching academics. We are molding children for the future and so much of what we do and how we present ourselves as role models affects children long term. Teaching character education can make an enormous impact on the reduction of bullying, cheating, discipline problems and depression, increase student engagement and involvement, and increase test scores, grades and social skills.
Character.org, an advocacy group based in Washington, DC, states “When educators foster a caring school environment and teach core social skills, a virtuous cycle develops in which positive interactions beget more positive interactions.” We have an opportunity to positively shape this development in young children. Students feel safe and respected in this environment. They are then able to thrive academically and socially; traits that will stick with them throughout their life.
Social, emotional and ethical learning is not taught in just one class. Character education takes shape in multiple ways and in multiple environments. It is promoted as part of the daily classroom life in instruction, during group work, at recess and even at transitions to drop off and pick up with parents. It is about fostering positive relationships in all aspects of the child’s life.
New World Learning Academy embraces the opportunity to instill in young children the value that good social, emotional and ethical development brings to their life and to others around them. Our Character Education program involves everyone including staff, students and parents and this brings out the best in everyone. We are doing our part in what all parents want for their child – An education that empowers students to achieve success in school and life.