Character Development With Preschool Providers
Our current society is not very ‘kid friendly’. We live in a world where a certain type of body image is promoted to children from a very young age, where the media emphasizes violence, and where kindness and care are not skills considered necessary to become well-developed human beings. Preschool providers need to encourage good character development from a very young age in order to counteract these perceptions of the ’perfect’ person.
Nowadays, teachers and parents are seeing self-esteem problems arising in younger and younger children. It’s impossible to avoid the media representation of a ‘perfect’ child, and impossible to walk into a toy store without seeing isles of stick-thin Barbie dolls and overly muscular super heroes telling little boys and girls what they are expected to become before they know anything of the world. We are already setting our children up to fail, so it is incredibly important to focus on a child’s self-esteem. No preschooler should be worried about being accepted by his or her peers based on weight or appearance. Consequently, it is necessary to promote healthy self-esteem as early as possible, and encourage good dietary habits and sufficient exercise. Preschoolers need to be taught to love themselves, and recognize their strengths. Teachers can encourage this by supporting students in their endeavors, and promoting skills and hobbies. In this way children will have a greater possibility of developing into well-rounded adults.
Teaching children to love themselves is a lesson that should be focused on as early as possible, but it is not the only important thing that can be learnt in preschool. A significant aspect of character development is learning how to love others. Teaching children respect and care for their classmates and the people around them is an integral part of the compassion needed to become a successful adult. Simple things like rewarding acts of kindness and encourages your preschoolers to share with one another can cultivate kindness in your classroom and outside of it. Not every parent has the capacity to teach their child how to act and react to others, so often it falls to the teacher to instil these lessons.
Right vs. Wrong
Knowing what is right and what is wrong seems like something everyone should know, but as adults we often forget that knowing the difference between the two is something children need to be taught, preferably from a young age. Nowadays, children are exposed to violence in many aspects of their lives, be it in their real life or through video games or TV. There is no avoiding it, but we can impress upon them that this is not the way to act in the real world, that violence is not the way to react to situations. Just because a superhero beats up a bad guy does not mean a child can use their fists to solve problems. It may seem obvious, but in actual fact these are the messages we send to children everyday. Without proper guidance, they will not be able to develop into adults with a good knowledge of ethics and morality.