Early Character Formation

As parents, one of our primary duties is to teach our children the right attitudes they need so they may grow into balanced, confident, competent, responsible men and women. What could be more important than this?

A Different Kind of Preschool

Raising happy, well-adjusted, and successful children is every parent’s dream. At Meadows Academy, we’re building a special kind of preschool that not only focuses on children’s intellectual growth and academic achievement, but also emphasizes the importance of nurturing the right habits and attitudes necessary to live a fuller life. A balanced approach to early childhood education forms a solid foundation necessary for future happiness and success.

Why Focus on Virtues

Strong character is formed when habitual, permanent attitudes are integrated into one’s personality. Once they’re internalized, these fundamental strengths of mind and will form the basis by which someone approaches life and all its circumstances. These habits and attitudes have sometimes been called the virtues: faith, hope, charity, justice, prudence, fortitude, and temperance. Whether we call them virtues or strength of character, they’re not acquired easily or naturally. No one is certainly born with them. If children don’t learn these strengths from their parents or while they’re in school, they usually grow up without them. They retain the weaknesses of childhood and remain immature, self-centered, self-indulgent, irresponsible, and without much faith or confidence in themselves.

Why Timing is Important

Given their critical importance, it’s never too early for parents to start educating their children in the virtues and how to live them. The younger children are exposed and taught how to practice the virtues and develop positive character traits, the better. As many parents who have gone through the process can attest, by the time children reach their teen years, the battle for character formation has largely already been fought and its outcome long determined by the efforts undertaken early on. Hence, the imperative is to “catch” children while they’re still young, teachable, and moldable.

Our Approach to Early Character Formation

Our methodology for early character formation is comprised of 4 components. We teach the virtues by example, through guided practice, the use of words or explanations, and using imagination.
Meadows Academy | Character Formation - Modeling

Through Example

Children learn character mostly, and most deeply, through their parents’ example. They also acquire virtues when they imitate people whose character they admire. Meadows Academy is a place where teachers and parents make a serious commitment to growing in virtues. Our teachers strive to be good role models to students. Children’s characters are formed by the good habits they see and emulate.

Reading Stories

Reading a good story opens children’s hearts and fires their imagination. When trying to teach children how to behave the right way in a particular situation, a powerful story alone does its own work.

The lessons need not be spelled out to them; they get the picture right away and try to do the right thing.

Meadows Academy | Early Character Formation - Reading and Telling Stories
Meadows Academy | Character Formation - Conversations

Meaningful Conversations

We also take the time to talk to children about obedience, sincerity, loyalty, or any other virtue.

While it is not easy for children to understand abstract words or concepts, explanations increasingly make more sense to them as they grow intellectually.

Guided Practice

Teaching virtues through guided practice involves establishing academic or behavioral expectations in children, helping them meet these expectations, and supporting them along the way until goals are met. Strength of character is shaped when children learn by doing. Virtues are formed when children practice repeatedly.

Meadows Academy | Character Formation - Guided Practice

Virtue of the Month Program

Meadows Academy is different because of the school’s focus on the early character formation of students. The school’s Virtue of the Month Program is a practical approach to character education. It’s literature-based and cultivates growth of character in your child by promoting basic moral, civic, and intellectual virtues.
Every student learns a specific “virtue of the month” such as respect, responsibility, diligence, honesty, generosity, perseverance, courage, faithfulness, integrity, humility, and compassion– through character education stories, thematic art projects and activities. The program revolves around reading and telling stories; demonstrations or guided practice; and beautiful poems and songs that help children grasp the nature of the virtue and feel the desirability of it.
The Virtue of the Month Program complements all subjects taught using the Core Knowledge Preschool Sequential Curriculum.

A Day of Character Formation

Classes begin with Large Group Circle Time during which students gather together to listen to a character education story that illuminates the virtue of the month in a way that they can easily understand. The teacher then leads the class in a conversation on what the virtue or character trait means, why it’s important, examples of how and when it’s practiced, and what each one can do to grow in the virtue.
The rest of the day proceeds with certain planned activities, songs, games, or arts and crafts specifically integrated into the curriculum to educate students about the virtue in their minds, will and imagination. Students may receive homework at the end of the day focused on the virtue. This reinforces learning of the virtue at home with parents and fosters self-control, organization, and responsibility in children.
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