A recent character education presentation at Youngstown’s Martin Luther King Elementary School is helping young students understand the benefits of being nice, and some are already grasping the snowball effect the lessons could have on the school’s culture.
The October presentation underscores the importance of character education in schools. It also provides an avenue for expanding lessons to encourage students to learn from each other.
Youngstown students in kindergarten through 5th grade met with yo-yo aficionado Chad Adams and NED—the star character of The NED Show and acronym for “Never give up, Encourage others, and Do your best,” The Vindicator reports.
Throughout the roughly 45-minute assembly, the characters engaged students through yo-yo tricks, humor, and stories about good character to illustrate important concepts like focus and persistence, kindness and shared learning, and diligence and excellence.
“After the assembly, educators have access to our extensive collection of resources. The lesson plans, videos, and classroom activities center upon NED traits and easily integrate into existing curriculum,” according to The NED Show website. “The excitement begins with the assembly and continues year round to promote a culture of kindness and excellence at your school.”
King Elementary counselor Kristen Campana told The Vindicator that officials chose The NED Program to promote good behavior and “instill good traits in our students as early as possible so they can all grow and be successful in all aspects.”
Students who attended the assembly quickly recognized the potential the lessons have to reduce bullying.
“People need to start being nice,” 5th-grader Trent Young said. “We are all the same here.”
Other insightful students, like 3rd-grader John Barden, pointed to another big benefit often highlighted by character education advocates.
“You should show younger kids to be nice so that when they’re our age, they’ll continue to show kids younger than them to be kind,” Barden said.
Barden’s comment shows he understands the importance of cultivating habits in students when they’re young so they can be kind without thinking twice about it.
That’s the essence of character education, and it’s a foundation that schools should build on and infuse in the school community.
To help students dive deeper into the ideas planted by The NED Show, a lesson on kindness suggests that teachers help students to “visualize the community-building effects of practicing kindness.” Older students can often mentor their younger schoolmates to begin developing kindness habits early.
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