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What do you do to help your preschoolers learn to be good people? Does your child care provider teach character education?”

2 replies so far...

  • I agree with modeling and little talks, and also group role-playing and acknowledgement of good choices. It helps if they are hearing it from both their parent(s) and someone a bit more removed (aunt, teacher, fairy tale, quality video). Patience is essential; kids can identify right behavior long before they have the maturity to appy this knowledge under stress. Heck, how many adults consistently apply it?

    I am not sure I'd say my kids get "character education" in preschool. Their teacher has her rules for behavior, e.g., "zero tolerance of pretend gun play," but no, I don't see that as developing "character." When I think of "character," I think of someone wanting to be a net positive factor in her environment, and being willing to give something up with no reward (and under no threat) just to move toward that goal. I think a child has to have some degree of world experience before he/she can form the intention to make those kinds of choices. And I also think the readiness to do so depends in part on the way a child is wired from birth. So, I am not sure preschool "character education" would have an impact on many. (Depending on how you define it, I guess.)

    Personally, I feel like my kids get the most "character education" when I am candid about my own mistakes and struggles. In other words, modeling the drive for self-improvement is probably more effective than modeling perfect behavior.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by SKL on 2nd January 2011

  • I think modeling polite behavior goes a long way. For example, after I say, "thank you" to the cashier or bank teller or whoever, my 2 1/2 year old daughter usually says thank you, too. We try to use please and thank you a lot at home, as well as no thank you and excuse me at appropriate times, and she mimics this quite a bit. Lately I've had to explain to her that it is rude to yank a toy out of her baby brother's hands, and she's started asking him for a turn and waiting a little more patiently for him to move on to another toy...but sometimes the wait is hard for her!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Allison on 29th December 2010