Character Strong Program Builds Strong Characters in Early Learning

By Head of Community Engagement Gordon Mathis

A key initiative in Galloway’s 2021-25 strategic plan is to develop a curriculum that supports social and emotional learning at all three levels. Our Early Learning team chose the Character Strong curriculum to meet that goal. After a 3-hour training during preplanning, EL teachers debuted the program successfully the first week of school, extending the program to fifth grade advisory in the first year of Middle Learning. 

The Character Strong program concentrates on such traits as courage, perseverance, honesty, respect, gratitude, kindness, creativity, and empathy. The daily lessons provide quotations from diverse speakers, graphic artwork to illustrate the lesson, activities or games appropriate for each grade level, and conversation starters to further the lesson.

EL teachers begin each day with morning discussions in the classrooms, amending the Character Strong curriculum as necessary. EL counselor Lynn Mandelbaum teaches all students in an eight-day rotation and also draws on the Character Strong lessons for ideas to supplement her program. All lessons are available in Spanish, so EL Spanish teachers can utilize them in their coursework as well.

This month, students in PreK through fourth grade will focus on the concept of cooperation. The Galloway School has always prepared students to be compassionate and thoughtful citizens, and we are grateful to add another program to support that long-standing initiative for years to come.