Our value for this month is a celebration of Character Strengths.

Character Strengths are part of who we are. They are aspects of our personality, which can help us to live a happy, fulfilled and purposeful life. We have all shown amazing character strengths in how we have handled the challenges of the past fourteen months, on a personal and on a collective basis, a fact that is worth acknowledging.

Why Character Strengths Matter

The concept of ‘Character Strengths’ has been identified as one of the key elements of Positive Psychology. Overwhelming scientific evidence now shows that character strengths like self-control, curiosity and gratitude are critically important to social and emotional well-being, physical health and achievement. Research has demonstrated that character is plural, encompassing a multitude of strengths that can be organised into three dimensions: Interpersonal strengths, like gratitude, enable harmonious relationships with other people; intrapersonal strengths, like grit and self-control, enable achievement; and intellectual strengths, like curiosity, enable a fertile and free life of the mind.

Character Strengths and our School

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

In our exploration of Character Strengths with the children, we introduce them to the twenty-four identified strengths from the ‘Weaving Well-being’ Programme we are currently using in our school. These are Love, Curiosity, Gratitude, Self-Control, Leadership, Honesty, Creativity, Emotional Intelligence, Kindness, Forgiveness, Fairness, Optimism, Bravery, Open-Mindedness, Love of Learning, Appreciation of Beauty, Caution, Meaning, Zest, Perseverance, Perspective, Humour, Humility and Teamwork. We describe strengths as treasure and each strength is like a coin in our own personal treasure chest. We aim to give the children the opportunity to reflect on, to identify and to develop their own strengths.

A value is a principle that guides our thinking and behaviour. At all times, we aim to translate our values into actions with the children. In this way, our taught ethos becomes a lived ethos. How does exploring and developing our signature strengths do this? When we think about our strengths, we focus on the unique attributes we have that empower us and that bring us a sense of confidence and achievement. We think about how our collective strengths enable us to create a diverse, stimulating and nurturing school environment. We encourage children to acknowledge their strengths to enhance their own wellbeing and to use them for the good of all.

Make it your goal this May to explore your own and your child’s strengths

  • Talk with your child about Character Strengths in general and family members’ in particular, to enable him/her to get a better sense of his/her strengths and challenges.
  • Which strengths have become apparent or which new ones have developed over past fourteen months?
  • Celebrate your family’s successes, big and small, by sharing good news, creating an accomplishment box or displaying artwork, projects and reward certificates.
  • Acknowledge family members when you observe a strength in action, as this helps raise awareness and appreciation.

© 2021 Monkstown ETNS. Roll # 20060G. Registered Charity # 20118648.

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