Our families, schools, communities, and nations teach children values–either explicitly or implicitly. There are many pro and con arguments about whether values should be taught by anyone outside of the family. As a high-school debator, I probably could have outlined those in detail. Now however, as a tired and overworked adult, I’ll just ask you to google search the arguments on your own time.
Several months ago, in my home, I decided that it was time for me to explicitly teach my children values that are important to me. I began a “value of the month”. In my summer creative mode, I had grand hopes of doing “field trips” or “service projects” to advance that value. I am laughing at my summer-self now! But I have kept up putting a value of the month on the kitchen white board as well as a quote(s) that point towards the value. This month, my daughter beat me to it! When I hadn’t yet put a new value on the board by October 2nd, she put one up as well as a quote. Love!
At school this year, we’ve been talking about different aspects of “Compassion and Respect”. Although some would argue that values such as these should not be taught at school, I would counter that the school will run much more smoothly and peacefully if students embrace these values. Posters are added to the halls each month and there is an assembly on the last day of the month to honor one student from each class that has demonstrated this value.
We teach our own/school values every day in the classroom: be respectful, be safe towards others, share, etc. We teach values constantly in social skills groups: think about how others are feeling, stay with the group, help others, be interested in others, etc. Usually the school values that are taught are widely agreed upon values for our community. Schools around the world have very different community values: collaboration/independence, creative thinking/agreed upon systems, no homework to give kids free time/hours of homework to emphasize important academic skills, amble play time/ limited play time.
Next month, many American families and schools will be teaching children to “be thankful” as we approach Thanksgiving. That will certainly be the “value of the month” in my home. In honor of the holiday and my upcoming value of the month, I have created a Thanksgiving Language Unit (including social language). I plan on using it with all of my language groups in November (hint, it will be on my free lesson plans!). I hope that you will consider using it too!
There are leveled activities for students working at the 2-3 word utterance level, all the way through 5th grade CCSS level! Each level includes receptive and expressive activities, as well as a worksheet for therapy time or home.
Grab your copy here.
So tell me… do you think that values should be taught in school? If so, will you be working on “be thankful” this November?