Here at Crème de la Crème, we focus on academic learning and personal character development for your child. Education in early childhood is crucial for developing social skills, respect for teachers, and good behavior toward peers. Here are some ways we provide character development education for your child.

PATHS (Promoting Alternative Thinking Skills)

3 children at school learning on a laptop.

Children at school by Lucélia Ribeiro is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

Crème de la Crème’s PATH program is focused on character education, designed to teach children how to understand their emotions and help them recognize and process their feelings positively. PATH also promotes emotional awareness, self-control, and problem-solving skills. These skills help your child learn how to form friendships and understand how their behavior affects others, which also helps them build empathy. Character education helps provide:

  • A solid starting point.
  • Emotional and social skills, which they’ll carry with them.
  • Help to be successful from elementary school on up.

It improves their communication skills and teaches them how to take responsibility for their actions while helping them learn about the significance of community.

The Goals of Character Development Education

With a prevalence of disrespect toward teachers, parents, and other authority figures, as well as the cruelty of children toward one other, on the rise, bullying in many forms is a growing problem. This has brought greater awareness to the need for character development education. The goals of character education are to:

  • Affirm the human dignity of self and others.
  • Promote the happiness and well-being of the individual.
  • Help to serve the common good.
  • Define our rights and obligations in society.
  • Fulfill classical ethical tests such as whether you want to be treated that way.
  • Fulfill universality, like whether you want everyone to act that way in a similar situation.

Character development education helps bring about positive changes in children’s behavior. This model teaches children not to blame others, to be truthful, and to help others. A single aspect of this form of education may not substantially impact a child’s character. Still, a program combining various elements of character development can result in children with a good sense of a moral and ethical worldview. Character development education at Crème de la Crème can be reinforced at home as situations concerning right and wrong issues arise. These concepts coupled with your modeling of ethical behaviors can be an excellent foundation to help your child build their character.

The Six Pillars of Character

Character development education often relies on the concept of The Six Pillars of Character, which are:

  1. Trustworthiness.
  2. Respect.
  3. Responsibility.
  4. Fairness.
  5. Caring.
  6. Citizenship.

The six pillars of character were incorporated into Character Counts, a character-building curriculum designed to teach ethical values that transcend race, creed, politics, gender, and economic status. In 1992, the Josephson Institute held a summit conference on character education that brought together a diverse community of ethicists, educators, and youth leaders to work together on finding universal ethical values. They agreed that the six pillars of character are central to honorable people’s lives, regardless of their differences.

Key Takeaways From Character Education for Children

The most important values that children should take away from character development education are:

  • That character counts; their success and happiness depend on their inner selves.
  • That people with ethical character know the difference between right and wrong and can use the six pillars of character to help guide their thinking and actions.

One Method of Teaching Character Education

Teachers can approach character education by introducing a lesson based on one of the topics within the six pillars. Teaching them through a five-step process:

  1. Select a desired behavior to teach over 21 days.
  2. Define the values of the trait and why it’s needed.
  3. Demonstrate how the trait looks and sounds.
  4. Provide structured practice over the 21 days.
  5. Reinforce the trait by giving feedback and providing encouragement to use the trait in daily life.

These steps can be reinforced throughout the day using visual and activity tools. Children will want to participate if teachers use fun and creative ideas, such as posters, books, and activities.

The Parent’s Role in Character Development

Parents are encouraged to assist in the process of character development education through the following steps:

  • Be consistent. Keep the moral messages you send your children clear, consistent, and repetitive. Your actions and speech will either reinforce or undermine the credibility of the statements you’re trying to impart to your kids about the importance of having good character. This also applies to what actions and speech others will allow in your presence. The best way to teach, advocate, and model the six pillars of character is by being consistent and firm. Look for examples that can be teachable moments to help demonstrate good behavior.
  • Be Concrete. Teaching ethics and building character aren’t limited to academic learning, and it’s important to reinforce it at home by seeking ways to make it relevant to experiences in your children’s lives. You can do this in situations that arise in day-to-day life, discussing character and choices with your children using real-life examples.
  • Be Creative. Character development should have an active, creative component to be effective. Children must participate in decision-making processes that have real-world consequences. Role-playing and games can also be helpful and effective in supplementing concrete decision-making during daily activities. Finally, the creative use of books, TV shows, the news, and movies can provide opportunities for teaching moments by looking at examples of good and bad speech and behaviors.

At Crème de la Crème, character development education is just one part of our whole-child approach to developing your child’s cognitive abilities, improving their social skills, and helping them become confident, well-rounded learners. Different learning components at Crème de la Crème include:

  • Culinary education.
  • Coding and robotics.
  • Baby sign language.
  • The research-based Frog Street curriculum for early learners.
  • Journeys.
  • A science-based learning program for kindergartners.
  • Access to our outdoor facilities supporting 120 minutes of active play per day.

We encourage you to contact us to explore the difference the Crème de la Crème experience can make for your child. We offer a research-based curriculum that provides your child with various learning experiences. Our staff creates a nurturing environment to strengthen your child’s social skills, improve cognitive capabilities, and create confident learners. Contact your local Crème de la Crème program to get started today!