Program : Character Education
Character matters [top]
The atmosphere of a school is as important as its academic curriculum. Students take in vital life lessons every day at school as
they interact with peers and adults, and as they observe the way adults work together. Our school’s explicit emphasis on the importance
of character means that your children can be in an environment where the framework of values and expectations mirrors those of the
family. The school’s list of Character Building Qualities (CBQs) gives the community a common language and a common set of
expectations. They help to clarify the complexities young people face by providing consistent answers to questions and
pressures that arise in day-to-day life. Teachers use a values-based curriculum to reinforce the CBQ’s on a regular
basis. Through setting expectations and modeling appropriate conduct, FRCDS faculty and staff teach appreciation for one another and for
qualities that build character.
Character Building Qualities, our common vocabulary [top]
the training of character as highly as the training of the mind
development of character in all aspects of school’s life
right thinking and right acting as the cornerstones of a healthy and successful life
families as partners with the school in helping each student cultivate:
self-respect, a proper sense of right and wrong, compassion and caring,
responsibility as an individual and as a member of a community, and
Our CBQs have been in place for decades and thus have permeated school life in deep and natural ways.
||We care. We help others.
||We work together to support each other.
||We use good manners.
||We have our own ideas.
||We think before we act.
||We appreciate. We are thankful.
||We always tell the truth.
||We are patient with others and ourselves. We are gentle.
||We are dependable. We are punctual.
||We care for our natural world. We solve problems.
||We are kind, considerate, and thoughtful to others and self.
||We do what is right. We chose to behave.
Assembly, our family time [top]
On Monday & Friday mornings faculty, staff, and students in Grades 1-8 gather for Assembly. The purpose of this gathering is to
bring the community together in order to highlight community values represented by the CBQs. The teacher on duty for the week shares
ideas and reflections on the CBQ of the week, and groups of students take part regularly in this community activity where goodness
is honored and a sense of shared purpose is reinforced.
Character across the curriculum [top]
From the moment they arrive at school, Preschool students are encouraged to express the CBQs in their daily work and play. They
are surrounded by the faculty’s happy expectation of goodness, which nurtures a child’s desire to be good. When a little one falls
down, the others are encouraged to “Help a friend up.” If a couple of students are becoming more boisterous than necessary, rather
than reprimanding them first, the teacher will remind them of ways to show the respect and kindness that children come by
naturally. Teachers make a habit of pointing out expressions of goodness so that students learn to recognize and value them.
In addition to maintaining high standards of respect and kindness, Lower School teachers incorporate character issues into the
curriculum. Listen in at classroom doors, and you might hear:
Kindergarteners discussing the values that create a lasting friendship as they listen to Charlotte’s Web
Fourth graders getting to know Ben Franklin and his characteristics as a patriot and creative problem-solver
Fifth graders talking about Harriet Tubman and the values she stood for
Music students learning about Louis Armstrong’s ability to surmount one difficulty after another on his way to becoming “the American Bach”
Groups of students working on projects together and thereby learning about shared values such as respect, cooperation, and patience
In their classes, Middle School students often find themselves engaged in discussion about values and character, in the context of their course work. As a middle schooler you can expect to
Read Romeo and Juliet or Beowulf and discuss whether revenge is ethical
Get to know Elizabeth I and her qualities as the first influential female monarch
Discuss what it means to be a traitor, in the context of both Elizabethan times and current events: Is it traitorous to wish something devastating would happen, whether the idea is acted upon or not? Are you a traitor if you cheat on your taxes?
Celebrate Archimedes as a creative problem solver
Puzzle over topics such as genetically modified organisms, water rights, and global warming in science class
Get involved in the issues around the environmental impact of mining for minerals, our impact on coral reefs for tourism purposes, and cloning
Ethics Class, building strong thinkers [top]
Students in Grade 8 take part in a class on ethics, led by a member of the Board of Trustees, who is a trained facilitator in the field of
ethics. The curriculum grows out of the Institute for Global Ethics. Our students learn to think and act based
upon values and reasoning. Participation in this class leads students towards meaningful leadership roles in Middle School and beyond.How do we make choices and how do those choices impact others?
What are shared core values?
What is our class code of ethics?
What are some strategies for determining right from wrong?
What is the need for moral courage in today’s society?
The Middle School at Fox River Country Day School provides an oasis of calm for developing independent reasoning skills and a strong
sense of self, both of which will contribute to students’ future happiness and success.
Middle School Advisory, a support network [top]
The Middle School Advisory Program is central to character education as it provides a caring environment where students can analyze and
discuss issues they face in everyday life. During advisor time small groups of students get to know one another and their advisor
through hearty discussion, service projects, conversations about character and ethics, and problem-solving activities.