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Character education begins in the early years

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It has become a common complaint among business leaders that high school and college graduates entering the workforce today are weak in their abilities that are needed to work cooperatively with their co-workers. Some of the complaints are that the new employees lack independence, self-confidence, motivation, and resilience. All of these characteristics are needed in today's companies. An employee needs to have self-confidence that he/she will be able to perform to a company's standards. Self-motivation is crucial for new employees in that often there is not a supervisor to train a new employee adequately. New employees are often given a handbook with the company's policies, but not given a mentor to help them navigate the new work environment. New employees often find themselves alone with learning their way around the work environment. Resilience is also crucial in that a new employee must be able to adapt and change with the work environment.

Early childhood educators know that these characteristics can be taught during the first five years. Primrose Early Learning Center in the Lakewood Ranch area of Sarasota introduces character training with a variety of programs that are developmentally appropriate for pre-k and kindergarten children. There are several segments to the character education program that the teachers at Primrose use.

*Life Skills is a segment of the character education program curriculum that gives young children the opportunity to engage in monthly discussions in groups about a variety of life events in which they need to use characteristics of compassion, resilience, self-confidence, and motivation. Children can participate in small tasks that teach these character traits. The activities are developmentally appropriate and fun.

*Adopt-a-Grandparent gives young children at Primrose opportunities to engage with older adults throughout the year with fun activities. Participating in activities with a variety of age groups teaches young children to get along and appreciate differences in groups of people.

*Posies & Polliwogs-way to Be is the segment of the character education program that uses art, crafts, games, and role-playing to teach young children necessary character traits needed for later years.

*Helping Hands is the segment that presents opportunities for young children to learn to give back to their community with a variety of projects throughout the year. Food collections, book collections, and clothes drives are just a few of the community projects that children at Primrose can participate in.

Primrose Early Learning Center is located at 9127 Town Center Parkway in the Lakewood Ranch area of Sarasota. Parents may call 941-373-6363 to schedule a tour for the new year.

The year presents many opportunities to put character education into fun and creative forms for young children. They will carry these traits into later life and use these traits to be successful in their career choice. The brief included video presents an interesting idea about young children and the character trait of kindness.

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