Incorporating Character Education into the Early Childhood Degree Program: The Need, and One Department's Response.

April 2007

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Volume 28, Issue 2 April 2007, pages 153 - 161

Several major goals of early childhood professionals are to help children learn to work with others, care for others, verbalize feelings, support friends, show kindness and exhibit other character skills and traits. When these life skills are lacking, it affects the ways in which children interact with one another and form relationships with peers and others.

The need to include character development in the early childhood curriculum in a way that complements developmentally appropriate practice and meets state and national standards is emphasized. Various techniques for integrating character development include developmental discipline and positive guidance, individualized planning, play-based learning, successful experiences, making choices, setting boundaries, cooperative environments, and modeling.

Early childhood teacher educators are called upon to build these lessons into college curricula so that students are effectively prepared to incorporate character education into their future classrooms. An example of how one university is incorporating character education into the early childhood education curriculum is included.

Updated: Jan. 22, 2008