Societal and cultural changes, advancements in technology, media influences and globalisation impact our society and our way of life. These changes will affect children who are impressionable and easily influenced by messages that they see and hear around them. Hence, it is of utmost importance that children are grounded by moral values to help them differentiate between right and wrong messages. These moral values help to shape one’s principles and these principles lead to the moulding of his/ her character traits.
We are expected to live and conduct ourselves well so that we can contribute to our family and society. Children learn about moral and social rules of their environment e.g. harmony, helpfulness and politeness and apply them in social situations and this helps in their character and emotional development. In turn, children who have healthy character and emotional development can have more positive outcomes in their lives such as being able to function better in school and achieve greater academic gains.
Harvard Little Character & Moral Education™ is a character and moral values-based programme that seeks to impart ethical character and moral values to children from 3 years old to 6 years old. These values are inculcated to children at a young age which lays a strong foundation in developing their moral character.
The yearly programme consists of 40 character and moral values to be taught over mini lessons that are engaging and applicable. A wide variety of resources including moral stories from books e.g. Aesop’s Fables, videos and its related multi-sensorial activities are used to introduce and strengthen these values. It is essential for our children to be exposed to different perspectives, developing them into broad-minded individuals of good character and moral values who are also exposed to views from a global platform.
Harvard Little Character & Moral Education™ is targeted to preschool children between 3 years old to 6 years old. It is one of the programmes for children who are enrolled in Harvard Little Brain School.
BENEFITS OF THE PROGRAMME
Develop children to be fine individuals of the society
The programme aims to develop good moral values and healthy attitudes in children. Children in turn learn to behave appropriately in the society by exhibiting good values and habits e.g. respect and compassion for others, being responsible and building their resilience. When children have good moral values, they exhibit fewer behavioural and disciplinary issues.
Increased gains in other developmental areas
When children have strong, core moral values, it helps to develop their social-emotional well-being and they achieve academic performance as well. Children are able to learn academic content and manage themselves better when they are immersed in a safe and conducive environment, knowing that their teachers and peers play a part in creating this environment.
Character and moral values create success
Success in school and in life stems from underlying character and moral values; hence, there is great emphasis on inculcating these values to children from a young age. For example, character and moral education teaches children to make responsible and wise decisions which are pertinent to experiencing success. Resilience and perseverance are other traits that are vital to help children work things through and experience sweet success at the end. These are the hidden values and traits that are the driving force behind every success story.
Diverse knowledge of various cultural backgrounds
Special events, festivals, stories and proverbs from various cultures and ethnic communities in the world are selected to impart moral values to the children. Therefore, besides nurturing children’s character and moral development, there are opportunities for them to explore various cultures in different parts of the world. This aspect of the programme helps them to know that there are cultures and practices that are different from what they know and do, hence, they are able to gain broader understanding of the world. They learn to be open-minded, accepting and tolerant of differences in cultural backgrounds, embracing differences as opportunities for their learning.
FEATURES OF THE PROGRAMME
Stories and life lessons
Fictional and non-fictional stories and life lessons from around the world are selected to exemplify character and moral values to children. These stories are relevant so that children can relate to and it sparks an interest and curiosity in them as they watch and listen to the stories unfold. The teacher uses books, e-books, videos, music and other media forms to tell these stories.
Games and activities
Games and activities such as card and board games, writing messages to others and self, craftwork and role play are some examples of experiential learning that strengthen the character and moral values learnt. These activities help children apply knowledge to practical aspects such as during social situations with their family and with the broader community.
Character and moral values need to be taught and reinforced with the children’s families as they spend most of their time together, hence, parental involvement is crucial. The programme consists of activities and parenting tips for parents to refer to inculcate moral values at home.