At Queniborough CE Primary School we teach Character as part of our curriculum
Put simply it is recognising, understanding and developing character traits that make us unique and then using these ‘character muscles’ to allow us to be the best version of ourselves. At the heart of character education is creating a culture in and out of school where students are given every opportunity to rehearse and strengthen their sense of themselves.
Children starting primary school this year will not retire until 2082 at the earliest! There is a growing recognition of the need to equip young people with strong character muscles that will make them be successful in all occupations and will help them to develop into healthy and happy adults.
Before character becomes an integral part of teaching & learning the basic concept must first be taught. Guy Claxton’s metaphor of seeing these characteristics as ‘muscles’ is very helpful as it conveys a number of key points that the teaching phase needs to help children understand…
• We all have all of these qualities to a greater or lesser extent.
• Though conscious exercise and focus they can be made stronger.
• A characteristic that is built through one exercise is transferable to a different context.
• The correct combination of muscles applied to the task at hand is the route to success.
• If we have areas that are perceived as weaker-the best response is not to avoid this ‘muscle’ but to make yourself exercise it (confidence, self-control etc.)
• Successful people are a combination of these basic muscles. Whilst it may not be possible to play football all day, there are plenty of opportunities to strengthen teamwork, creativity, self-control, perseverance and the many other qualities that combine into success. These are then transferred from one activity to another.
It is important that children internalize the idea that we each possess the full range of characteristics celebrated, and that they can strengthen all of these capacities through sustained effort. School is a great opportunity to explore new ways to develop these transferable, and valued, human traits.
What will my child do?
As a school we have chosen 30 character words. 7 of these words are our Christian Values. (These are in bold) We have split the words into three groups:
EYFS and Year 1
Years 2 and 3
Years 4,5 and 6
During school time, the character words will be introduced into students’ work, giving them opportunities to reflect on which ones they are using, and recognise how to build and apply the character vocabulary in their work at school, home and life.You will increasingly notice your child using these character words in their work, in communications from school and in other ways. We hope that you will want to help them build these charateristics at home as well
You can watch this short film to find out more: The Science of Character