I am a principal of a large urban primary school with 600+ students in Hamilton New Zealand. We have been working with the Virtues for four years. After two years the New Zealand Education Review Office stated the following in our report:
“Recent school-wide emphasis on the virtues programme is clearly evident in classrooms and forms the basis for effective behaviour management practices.”
“Respectful relationships prevail across the school… these virtues are clearly evident in the context of literacy programmes. The virtues are understood by teachers, well understood by students and the community and form the basis of effective management practices.”
I was granted a Sabbatical in 2005 to visit schools in New Zealand that were operating the Virtues Project in their schools. Without exception all the schools I visited had data to show the programme was a catalyst for improved behaviour and learning and improved self esteem.
At Frankton Primary we have collated quantitative and qualitative data that show the steady decline in aggressive behaviour in the playground and students developing strong moral conscience so desperately needed in this time. We believe that no matter how successful we are at educating our students, if they have not developed a strong conscience, sense of responsibility and accountability, and able to make conscious moral choices we have failed. By nurturing the virtues that exist within each individual in potential, we educate people who will use their talents to heal rather than destroy.
Education is the key to transformation but we believe at Frankton that it must involve education that touches the human spirit. My parents readily accepted this programme and they too are adopting some of the strategies in the home.
The Virtues Project is in many countries in the world and recently one of my teachers went back to Ireland after nearly two years with us and has written to me sharing how he used the virtues to turn an ‘out of control ‘ dysfunctional class of 33 students into a success story by using the language of the virtues solidly for only 3 weeks in a Catholic school in Dublin.
The Virtues project has the capacity to right the cycle of violence within one generation and we are seeing this happen in New Zealand. I encourage you to use this programme and wish you every success. I know you will be astounded with the programme’s impact on character development.
Principal Frankton Primary,
Hamilton. New Zealand
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