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Virtues Guide

The strategy of the Virtues Project is simple, it helps children to realize who they really are and realize that the purpose of life is to "have a purpose of life". Virtues are what make our character, they are an essential aspect of the the human spirit. Each child carries inside them a vast potential for those virtues. The goal of the teacher is to develop these virtues and good qualities that are naturally inherent in each child. 

emmabanny_300The best time to awaken the qualities and form the character of the child is in early childhood. The first years of their life are crucial for children to realize these good qualities that form the basis of our life – however, it is never too late to help them to discover these qualities within themselves.

The Virtues Project is based on a simple wisdom common across all diverse cultures and nations of the world – human beings should strive to the best of their abilities to reflect in their lives honesty, justice, kindness, all the qualities that are inherent within themselves. 

To integrate this program into the education of children does not need any special educational program, on the contrary – it is much more effective when it is integrated into the current educational program. Children learn to apply virtues in everyday life.

Virtues Guide:

At Little Pearl kindergarten we focus on developing and strengthening one specific quality for some time. Teachers meet to consult about the quality in order to prepare various activities associated with it. Teachers and children look out for situations when somebody expresses a certain quality. The teachers use situations when a certain quality has been manifest as an opportunity to talk to the children about it. Teachers prepare activities during the regular daily routine that enable children to express these good qualities.

Three main principles of the Virtues Guide:1jellyfish_ikon

1. We use the "language of virtues“

The way we speak is very important –we can encourage but also discourage with our words. We can build sound confidence when we change the reproachful language for a language that elicits good qualities. We use good qualities to appreciate children, to guide them and correct them. The language of virtues helps us to realize what kind of children we want to educate. The language is very specific and clear. General announcements of the kind "such a skilled girl“, "good job“ etc do not have sufficient influence. Although we show children that we are happy with them, we do not give them accurate information about what they have been good at or how skillful they have been. Instead of "you are such a kind boy we clearly specify why we appreciate the quality: „You were wery kind to show your new friend the place where he can sit. He surely feels welcome among us“.

·         We acknowledge when children express a good quality. (i.e. "Petr, this took a lot of perseverence to be able to put such a difficult jigsaw puzzle together." "John, you really showed self-discipline today. You have been very calm the whole week.)

·         We educate the children to express the virtues in everyday life (i.e. "Everyone will work individually now. Please remember that you should be considerate towards others and work quietly. Any noise can disturb other friends while working.).

·         We correct children or remind them in case they "forget" and do not manage to use an opportunity to express a good quality or when they make a mistake. ("Think now, how can you solve this problem calmly instead of pushing each other?")

2. We use opportunities to learn

sea_hourseWe use opportunities for learning, accept mistakes and recognize the tests and challenges lying ahead of us provide us opportunities to work on developing virtues. We can improve and find the best within us when reflecting on the following questions: "What can I learn from this situation?"; "What should I improve next time?"; "How can I do it correctly?". Opportunities to ponder on these questions at school are numerous and they help children to realize how they should treat others, how they act and what they can learn. For example while reading a tale we ask children what virtues the hero manifested and then we talk to them about how they could manifest such virtues, in which situations, what effect it would have etc. During the regular daily program we recognize when a child succeeds in manifesting a virtue or alternatively we point out situations to children in which they could have manifested a virtue but did not use the opportunity. Children can try to interpret the situations with the help of drama.

3. We set clear boundries

Clear boundries in connection to the virtues that we try to manifest help to create a secure environment for education. Clear rules based on virtues create a pattern and unity. They allow a positive approach to discipline, because they emphasise assertiveness and justice. They help children to understand what behaviour is not tolerated and where there is space for improvement. Breaking the rules has clear but adequate consequences. If the child is to bear the consequences of a broken rule, the teacher has to ensure that the child clearly understands the reasons for it.

When creating rules we use positive sentences rather tan negative, such as: "Behave calmly, use words for solving problems" (instead of "do not push each other").