First Presbyterian Learning Centers of Hollywood FL, in alignment with Broward County Schools, has adopted a character development curriculum focuses on eight core character traits. Teaching children to rely on strong principles and ethics to make decisions and guide their behavior, prepares them to accomplish their goals, interact successfully with others, and succeed in life.
At the Learning Centers we define citizenship as knowing about the importance of class rules and the community we live in. We teach our children that their classroom is a community, where they can feel safe and be an important part of the group. With everyone feeling loved and appreciated, we set clear rules and consistent boundaries, allowing children to learn and appreciate classroom rules.
We teach children how to cooperate and work together through a variety of activities such as “circle time” in the morning, when children are encouraged to communicate their thoughts, ideas and plans for the day. Children listen with interest about what is ahead and select classmates to partner up with for the exciting projects of the day.
We know how important it is to teach children to be truthful and honest. We teach honest first by modeling it ourselves: teachers are honest with their student in age-appropriate ways and we are genuine when responding to students’ concerns. We also teach children how to be honest with each other and we help them learn that dishonesty is not a effective way to get their needs met.
At the Learning Centers our teachers model kindness every day by being helpful, caring and considerate when engaging in communication with children, parents and co-workers, and we encourage our children to follow their teachers in being caring and considerate with one another. Children also have many opportunities throughout the day to practice kindness and care toward all living creatures: we have a nature playground, fish tanks, and plants that attract butterflies.
At our preschools children learn to be reliable, accountable and responsible by taking care of their classrooms. Classroom jobs are a shared responsibility and include cleaning up play stations, putting away personal belongings, watering plants, feeding the fish, setting tables for snack and meals. We use child-sized mini brooms and dust pans, paper towels and spray bottles filled with water and keep job charts with pictures and stickers. With our youngest children, we use descriptive informal talk about the jobs at hand to gently prepare them to help when they are old enough.
At First Presbyterian Church preschools self-control is understood as the ability to have discipline over one’s behavior and actions. When children behave inappropriately or act-up in school, teachers help the child identify what they need or why they are upset. Then, we teach the child to get their need met in a healthy and appropriate way.
To us, tolerance means respecting and accepting the values and diversity of our preschool families . Children in our preschools learn to appreciate and practice tolerance by learning about diversity and difference. For example, in each classroom a family tree poster is displayed that is decorated with family photos of each child, showing that we value and cherish each student’s family.