My Living Virtues

Now that winter is behind us and spring is finally here, we want to introduce a new dimension to our yearly curriculum! Throughout the rest of the academic year, the students will be introduced to My Living Virtues—a set of small group lessons and activities that will help our students discover their capacity to make the world a better place! They will be using our directed activities, stories, lessons and games as tools to create a nurturing environment that leads to success at home, at school, and in the community.

Book cover for I Am a Loving PersonThe core text we have used in the building of this dimension of our curriculum is the Indie Excellence Award Winning book series I Am a Loving Person: The Ultimate Child’s Guide to Making the World a Better Place by Vera S. Taylor. This series centers around virtues—defined as gifts of character such as courtesy, trustworthiness and justice. As Vera S. Taylor says, “…It is important for children to recognize and affirm these virtues in themselves and to acknowledge them in others. What they tell themselves becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy…”.

The text I Am a Loving Person is an A-Z book that pairs virtue words with simple, child-friendly affirmations. As we move with the students through this curriculum we will incorporate the daily goal to encourage them to respect themselves, which in turn will open the door allowing them to respect their classmates and family. Here are just a few of the many words we will be focusing on from now until the end of the school year; Attentive, Brave, Courteous, Determined, Forgiving, Gentle, Honest, Idealistic, Just, Knowledgeable and many more.

Book cover for The Best Me I Can BeOur curriculum extension My Living Virtues will also draw from the excellent Scholastic Book Series The Best Me I Can Be, which shows simple ways young children can learn to use virtues in their everyday lives. We chose this series because it focuses on the “I” behavior that can make a difference. Titles include: I Show Respect, I Can Cooperate, I Am Responsible, I Am a Good Friend, I Am Generous, I Am in Charge of Me, and many more. Our activities and discussions will keep in mind the notion that concepts like respect and generosity are difficult to explain to children, and that long before students fully understand what respect and generosity are, they need to learn the behaviors associated with them.

Book Cover for Junior 21st Century: FairnessWe will use the 3-Rs with this series in order to make it most effective—Repetition, Review and Reinforcement. Our unit My Living Virtues will also incorporate a collection of extraordinary books and visual aids from Cherry Lake Publishing, The 21st Century Junior Library—books that contain important core content for young children. Simple, straightforward activities that encourage children to Look, Think, Make a Guess, Ask Questions and Create. With this combination of reading and inquiring, our students are given the opportunity to develop the skills needed to truly own the important virtues of their developing self such as Caring, Citizenship, Fairness, Loyalty, Respect, Responsibility, Sportsmanship, Trustworthiness and more.

As you can see, we have developed what we believe should be an essential part of a quality early childhood educational experience. We are proud to offer these simple, clear and informative learning opportunities for your children. We live in a society where the difference between right and wrong is often blurred for young children. Many times loving parents may hesitate to set limits for their children and teachers may face challenges in managing their classrooms. Research has shown that there is a high correlation between social and academic behavior, and that the level to which young children can act in virtuous ways showing social competence is a good predictor of their academic success in elementary school.

Girl staring at an empty roadIt seems as though pre-kindergarten and kindergarten are the perfect places to start teaching virtues behaviors. At this age, young children are experiencing the most rapid mental growth of their lifetime and can be encouraged to develop behaviors and attitudes that will enhance positive interactions with peers. Children begin to relate the way they think with how they feel—and how they feel influences their actions. The average four-year-old, for example, can learn to accept differences. He or she can learn that people have feelings, that behaviors have causes, and that problems have many solutions. As a result of this knowledge and understanding, children may become more caring and cooperative.

Teachable moments make up a child’s day. Each activity, game, song, finger-play, story or discussion has the potential to be a profound teachable moment. We believe that whole-heartedly, and that is why we truly enjoy the chance to be with your child each day they are at school. Shortly you will begin to see work being brought home, songs being sung, and activities being talked about by your child that incorporate the My Living Virtues content we have described to you. We encourage you to discuss it with your child and share in their new knowledge about being the best they can be! We encourage you to be an extension of their learning and find your own teachable moments with your child! As educators we understand that the most important ingredient to a child’s success is us, the parent and teacher. Our children thrive on the encouragement and validation that comes from our attention to their efforts. We look forward to adding the crucial learning component of My Living Virtues to your child’s growth and development as we help to teach them to make the right choices on the road to success!

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