Why Character Education Is Important for Young Children

  • Great Ways Children Can Help on Thanksgiving

    November 18, 2019 by

    Gathering with family and friends each November can be a time to reflect on all the good people and things in our lives. We enjoy a sense of belonging and connectedness as we celebrate together. Young children are excited to participate and help in these festivities that bring people together—whether that includes visiting with guests… Read more

  • Helping Children Join In and Play at Recess

    August 22, 2019 by

    I remember the anticipation of the first day of school when I was in first grade, and again as a first-grade teacher and as a mother of six. In every situation, I hoped that the school year would be rewarding socially as well as academically. Children can be more focused on their work, improve their… Read more

  • How to Build an EC Classroom Culture Where Children Listen

    May 9, 2019 by

    Isn’t it amazing that two-year-olds born anywhere in the world have acquired the listening skills needed to understand and speak their native languages—complete with intonation and inflection? Listening is a vital precursor to academic and social learning. As children grow, they learn to understand and interpret many different types of sounds. We can help them… Read more

  • Helping Children Develop Social Skills Through Play

    November 1, 2018 by

    Play can take on myriad of forms depending on the developmental maturity and personality of the child, the setting and resources available, and the child’s group of peers. Some might assume that if children aren’t involved in an adult-planned activity that they aren’t developing or learning anything important. Yet play isn’t just a frivolous way… Read more

  • Build a Sense of Belonging in the Early Childhood Classroom

    May 22, 2018 by

    Mr. Rogers was a strong advocate for children. In his much acclaimed and long running television show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, he treated children gently and warmly and made them feel that they were a part of his intimate circle of friends. Mr. Rogers understood that a sense of belonging is a basic human need and that… Read more

  • Social Stories: An Individualized Learning Tool

    January 8, 2018 by

    A friend once asked me for advice regarding her two-year-old child. She was concerned about her daughter’s biting and tantrums, so I offered to help her write a social story for her daughter. Social stories are useful behavioral tools for teachers, counselors, and parents when working with any young child, and they have particular benefits… Read more

  • Helping Children Grow Strong

    June 2, 2016 by

    Children, though young and small, have within them everything they need to grow to adulthood. As children learn to love and appreciate their amazing bodies, they will likely find motivation to develop healthy habits for building and maintaining wellness. Some of these key habits are eating healthy foods, especially those from plants; drinking clean water;… Read more

  • Helping Your Child Adjust to All-Day Kindergarten

    September 10, 2015 by

    Has your child started all-day kindergarten this fall? Most children this age, whether or not they have attended preschool, are transitioning to new challenges such as a more demanding schedule, new classwork, making new friends, and developing confidence. Let’s take a look at how you might bolster your child in four important ways: physically, academically,… Read more

  • Why Character Education Is Important for Young Children

    May 20, 2015 by

    “Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” —Abraham Lincoln President Lincoln is one of my all-time heroes. I respect his deeply rooted character, and that he didn’t sway or compromise his principles. According to Lincoln’s own observation, character… Read more

  • Teaching Children to Cool Down and Work Through Anger

    February 4, 2015 by

    Children, like all of us, are frequently bombarded with situations that are unexpected, frustrating, or hurtful. Anger is a natural secondary emotion when children feel out of control. They may feel threatened when their belongings or personal space is being invaded, when they are not being respected, when they can’t have something they want, or… Read more

  • Character Education: Growth of the Whole Child

    October 2, 2013 by

    A few weeks ago I watched the true story Freedom Writers with my two teenage girls. In the movie, Erin Gruwell, a young, inexperienced high school teacher in Long Beach, California, in the early 1990s, inspires and unites her diverse class of “unteachable, at-risk” high school students. Outside the classroom, these students—who were about 13–14 years old—faced… Read more

View all posts

“Character is like a tree and reputation is like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” —Abraham Lincoln

President Lincoln is one of my all-time heroes. I respect his deeply rooted character, and that he didn’t sway or compromise his principles. According to Lincoln’s own observation, character is the real thing—it is the essence of who we are. His metaphor of a tree reminds us that teaching our children time-honored principles can help them stay grounded and rooted so that they can stand tall and live with integrity when winds of challenge blow. Others are also positively affected when children offer fruits of kindness, responsibility, and respect.

Character is an aggregate of all our traits and includes all of our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. Our children’s character is molded by their decisions and affects every aspect of their current and future life. As parents and teachers, we’re responsible for their upbringing, and we play a vital role in helping children develop their full potential. With the many varied messages children see in the media and in their associations, we can’t expect them to merely observe and adopt the character traits and maturity that we’d like them to develop. A consistent and thorough teaching of ethical behavior is critical to shaping character. Here are some reasons why:

FeelConfident detail copyright FreeSpirit Publishng

1. Character development is the basis for personal growth. As children practice skills that promote character development, they build a reservoir of strength that they can draw on throughout their lives. Self-esteem, confidence, courage, resilience, integrity, and forgiveness are examples of traits that can sustain children at home, at school, and in the community.

2. Character development is the foundation for lifelong learning. Schools that teach character education report increased academic performance and attendance. They also report decreases in disciplinary problems. Children appreciate the safe environment that occurs when their peers are also learning about respect, honesty, and compassion. Teachers also find it easier to teach when children are learning to exhibit habits of patience, diligence, and self-control in the classroom.

3. Character is the bedrock that solid relationships are built on. Our children will be happier, more caring, more forgiving, and more responsible as they are taught to think about the needs of others.

Share and Take Turns copyright Free Spirit Publishing

Cooperation, tolerance, and teamwork are examples of social skills that can be experienced firsthand when children are given the tools and opportunities. Schools and homes are ideal settings for children to practice communicating, sharing, and getting along. Speaking of how relationships and character are intertwined, Woodrow Wilson said, “If you will think about what you ought to do for other people, your character will take care of itself.”

4. Character shapes us as neighbors and citizens. Our character is a holistic language we daily communicate to others. We constantly affect one another. Beyond our homes and schools, our children’s character will also affect all of us in the workplace and in our communities as they grow to be our employees, neighbors, and leaders. When young people have not been taught principles of character that can anchor them, and if they don’t feel strong ties to faith, family, or community that nurture them, they may feel adrift and hopeless. They may not be attuned to the consequences of their actions, or to the needs of others. Delinquency, gangs, and violence are sadly visible in our culture and are a reminder that we have an awesome responsibility to exhibit strong character ourselves as we raise and influence the next generation.

Developing a respectful and responsible character is a skill every child needs in order to thrive, find fulfillment, and be an influence for good in society. On the importance of character education to prepare children for learning and for life, Dr. Kevin Ryan (founder of the Center for Character and Social Responsibility) emphatically stated, “Character education is not one more thing to add to your plate. It is the plate!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s