Character Development

Newest
Oldest

Demonstrating Respect

My school-age children came home with report cards not that long ago and I noticed a section describing respectful attitudes towards school property and treatment of others.  The idea of grading one’s development of this character trait seems a bit strange to me, but as I read further their report cards described respect as PR for Progressing or CD for Consistently Demonstrates. I like the idea of progressing or consistently demonstrating respect.  Children learn and often relearn the meaning of respect.  This learning begins in the early years and builds throughout a child’s life...

Advanced Pre-K
Pre-Kindergarten
School-Age
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Kindness Makes an Impact

In anticipation of accepting a new child into our classroom, I had my prekindergarten children create a welcome card.  They spent quite some time writing their names, thinking about the colors they thought this child may like and drawing pictures for her. Finally, the day had arrived, this child walked into our classroom holding tightly to her mother’s hand. I welcomed her in and another child excitedly brought over the card we had made.  Her mother smiled and told her child, “See, I told you they would be nice!” The next day, our new friend bounded into the classroom ready to ...

Advanced Pre-K
Infant
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Developing Self-Regulation Skills

Self-regulation, the ability to manage one’s own emotions and to empathize with others, is a leading predictor in the future academic success of a child.  When children can self-regulate, they recognize when they are getting frustrated and can utilize strategies to help them calm down before it gets out of control. When teaching self-regulation, we begin by teaching children how to manage their emotions and providing them with strategies to use to overcome stress and persist in challenging situations.   Label and recognize feelings. From infancy, parents and teachers ...

Advanced Pre-K
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Family Traditions

The winter holiday season is often accompanied by specific activities we participate in each year like visiting family, giving gifts, feasting, lighting candles, and celebrating. These traditions often go back generations in one form or another.  Research demonstrates that family traditions are valuable for building strong family relationships and developing a sense of belonging between family members. When children are invited to participate in family traditions by talking about the reasons behind these special activities, the traditions become more meaningful often providing a se...

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Living a Compassionate Life

The holiday season often causes us to think of others.  What is it that a loved one needs physically or emotionally during this time of year? We ask ourselves questions like, “What can I do to make another person feel the joy of the season?”  Compassion involves not only recognizing the needs of others but also following through in action to meet those needs. Over this month, the children at Stepping Stone School will have opportunities to think of others as they learn about this important character trait.  They will create gifts and cards for families and friends. Teachers ...

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How to Help Your Child Learn to Cooperate

I recently came across a cooperative board game in which three or four players work together to complete a task to win the game before they run out of time.  Interested, I tried the game out with my own children and here is what I found: While playing a cooperative game versus a traditional “single winner” game There was less arguing and whining between children, More laughing and encouragement of one another, and A quicker recovery time when the group lost the game. Working together, cooperating, provides an opportunity to come together for a common goal.  Whether pl...

Advanced Pre-K
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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How to Teach Young Children Fairness

Have you ever wondered why we enjoy sporting events where the “underdog” wins the day or hearing “rags to riches” human interest stories? Using functional MRIs, a team of researchers at Rutgers University discovered how the brain reacts to perceived fair and unfair treatment of others.  Their findings demonstrate higher levels of brain activity when one perceives fair treatment of another.  Additionally, they observed decreased activity when one perceives incidences of unfairness or inequity.  These findings suggest that our sense of fairness is not entirely based on a set of ...

Advanced Pre-K
Infant
Preschool
Toddler
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The Necessity of Beauty

Four-year-old, Jamie stood motionless in front of a flower.  Moving closer, I noticed a small white butterfly perched on the petal of a purple flower. Jamie reverently whispered, “See the dot on its wings, it has the same on both!” Going on he said, “It’s so quiet.  I like it.” Throughout the rest of the day, Jamie talked about the butterfly.  He thought about which flowers it may like best, where it may fly to next, he even wondered if he stood really still whether or not it may think him a flower. Jamie paused in the presence of a beautiful insect perched on a beautiful...

Pre-Kindergarten
Preschool
School-Age
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Thank you, Mister Rogers

For over 30 years, Fred Rogers entered the family rooms of preschool children across the nation to say, “It’s you I like.”  Using songs, puppets, and stories, Rogers taught children how to work through what he called, “the inner drama of childhood.” Words to songs like, What Do You Do with the Mad that You Feel? provided alternative positive behavior choices for the daily challenges children face. He spent years studying child development, adapting his speech to speak more slowly and calmly for the benefit of the children in his viewing audience.  Quietly battling social issu...

Infant
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Teaching Responsibility

In many of our Stepping Stone School prekindergarten classrooms, you will notice a classroom chore chart.  Using this list of chores, teachers encourage children to take on certain roles and responsibilities as a member of the classroom community.  Children work together to straighten the classroom, welcome guests, and line up at the door.  They are learning responsibility and the satisfaction of a job well done. A responsible person is reliable and trustworthy, completing the tasks she says she will do. Responsible people think before they act, they put forth their best effort, take...

Advanced Pre-K
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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Teaching Children to be Caring

Ruth had just woken up from her nap and was sitting alone near her mat with her head lowered, arms crossed, and a sad expression on her face.  Three-year-old Lizzie walked over after noticing her friend was not moving to participate in the classroom activities.  Squatting down and looking closely at Ruth’s face, Lizzie gently patted Ruth on the back and gave her a soft toy. Lizzie’s acknowledgment of Ruth’s feelings caused other members of the class to ask Lizzie what was wrong with Ruth.  Following Lizzie’s lead, other children brought toys over to try to cheer Ruth up. ...

Advanced Pre-K
Preschool
School-Age
Toddler
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