The first few years of a child’s life are the most influential and determine the adult they will become. At Weston Green School, we recognise that Character Education from a young age has lasting impacts and prepares children to excel in school and make a positive difference in society.
Why is Character Education in the Early Years Important?
The vital brain connections that shape a child’s future are developed through the relationships and activities they have in their first few years of life. Character Education in the Early Years lays the groundwork for a lifetime of good practices and principles, affecting a child’s conduct well into adulthood.
The benefits of Character Education in the Early Years
Character Education helps young children develop social and emotional skills and wellbeing, by teaching them about virtues and emotional literacy. This prepares them for positive mental health now and in the future. Character Education also helps children build positive connections with others, such as friends, teachers, and family, and feel supported by them. Moreover, the guiding principles and values that children learn in our Pre Prep support their academic achievement and lifelong learning.
Building the Foundations
At Weston Green School Pre Prep, we nurture our children’s social skills and values through Character Education. We create a safe and stimulating environment where children can explore, learn, and grow. We follow their interests and passions, and support them on their learning journey. In addition, we model and encourage our core values of curiosity, aspiration, respect, adaptability, honesty, and grace. These values are embedded in everything we do, from stories and role-playing to interactions with adults and peers.
In our Pre Prep, we help our young children to understand and manage their feelings and emotions, as well as empathise with others. We use stories, puppets, role-play, and games to teach them about different emotions and how to express them appropriately. We also praise and encourage them for their achievements and efforts, and help them to cope with challenges and setbacks. In this way we inspire our children to develop a growth mindset.
The Characteristics of Effective Learning
When observing and assessing our children we use The Characteristics of Effective Learning which describe behaviours children use in order to learn. To learn well, children must approach opportunities with curiosity, energy and enthusiasm. Effective learning must be meaningful to a child, so that they are able to use what they have learned and apply it in new situations. These abilities and attitudes of strong learners will support them to learn well and make good progress in all the Areas of Learning and Development.
Early character education also instils the concept of personal responsibility – taking ownership of one’s actions and choices. Children develop independence, resilience and perseverance when faced with challenges.
Learner Profile Animals
At Weston Green School we use our Learner Profile Animals to help children develop positive learning behaviours and attitudes, such as the independent Badger, the collaborative Bee, and the reflective Owl.
The children are also introduced to the Zones of Regulation, an approach used to support the development of self-regulation in children. All the different ways children feel and the states of alertness they experience are categorised into four coloured zones. Children who are well regulated are able to be in the appropriate zone at the appropriate time. This approach, along with the Learner Profile Animals, begins with our youngest children and progresses through the different prep phases.
To find out more about our Pre Prep provision, book a place on our upcoming open morning on Tuesday 19th March 9-11am. Register your place with Mrs Ranger on firstname.lastname@example.org.