When parents tour our preschool, they often tell us they want their children to learn to read, write, add and subtract – but even more importantly, they hope that their children will grow up to be good people. I tell these parents that at Primrose, we nurture traits like kindness, compassion and generosity because we strongly believe that who children become is just as important as what they know.
While it may seem like children are too young to grasp big concepts like compassion, research shows that the foundation for the skills that make us good people is built in the first years of life. And each and every day in our classrooms, we see that reinforced even at a young age, children demonstrate what it means to have good character.
They Know When to Comfort
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen toddlers comfort one another, sharing their own special blankets and toys with the children who are upset. By the time children reach our Preschool and Pre-K classrooms, they’ve started to truly understand the feelings and interests of others and how to cheer each other up. A few weeks ago, I watched one child collect zoo animals – the favorite toys of her friend who was unhappy – so they could play together.
They Want to Help Each Other
We know children truly understand what it means to be compassionate when they find ways to help one another without being asked – like on a recent day when a new student joined our Preschool classroom, another child showed her all of the different play areas and equipment on the playground so she would feel welcome. Their generosity shines through during our annual giving events, like the Caring and Giving Food Drive this month. The children raise money for canned goods, budget, plan and shop for healthy items, and learn firsthand how they can make a difference in their community. We also teach manners every day and give children small classroom jobs to encourage responsibility, building important skills they will carry with them for life.
They Show Kindness in Many Ways
In our Infant classrooms, our youngest students give out little hugs and smiles to their teachers because they’ve formed relationships with them. We teach our young toddlers that it’s kind to greet their friends and say hello to people because it’s a simple way to show others that they care about them. Our Preschool students make cards for their teachers to make them feel special. These are just a few of the many ways that children of all ages show their teachers and peers that they care.
Though we teach and model to children what it means to have good character, truthfully they reflect back to us one of the most important and inspiring lessons of all: no matter our appearances, our backgrounds, our disabilities or any other differences we may have, everyone can learn and show kindness, compassion and care!