Character education is about important life skills children need to learn for their spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development. It is about providing children with the best chance to be a successful adult, by equipping them with the skills to be confident, resilient and independent, and to develop strength of character, to become a happy and productive member of society.
At Moordown St John’s, we value the whole child and aim to nurture their spiritual, cognitive, emotional and physical sides to be the Blossoming-BEST they can be!
In seeking to develop well rounded pupils who believe in themselves and make a positive contribution to society, through our ‘Blossoming Best’ curriculum we
- ensure all pupils are part of a community of learning developing the knowledge and skills that enable them aspire to and become the ‘best’ they can be;
- promote a sense of community for the children and enable them to recognise their significance to the wider community;
- recognise the importance of children having a wider global perspective and sense of responsibility as citizens and leaders of the future;
- teach, model and practise an inclusive attitude and equip children to have a sense of their responsibilities and role in the wider society.
Some examples of how children’s character is developed include,
- year group and whole school learning provides opportunities for children to ask and explore big questions;
- use of our local area enriches learning with first-hand experience and contexts that help children connect learning;
- projects which have a relevant and meaningful impact on pupil’s character development are embedded such as Remembrance, Anti-Bullying, Global Neighbours, Internet Safety, Walk to School;
- children consider and make pledges about lifestyle change such as caring for creation and how our behaviours and attitudes should be face to face and online (Anti-Bullying Week and Internet Safety Week) which are rooted in our understanding that the Fruits of the Spirit are both a deeply Christian and universal set of values which if lived out make life better for ourselves and those around us;
- our worship model, which aligns with our Trick Box wellbeing teaching approach (accept, be, choose, do) supports children to learn and apply in their own lives;
- we recognise children face difficult circumstances and opportunities to discuss, reflect, and take action, through learning about current and historical local, national and global issues gives children opportunity to become more aware and empowered to overcome adversity;
- learning which has resulted in a number of meaningful changes embedded within the culture of the school e.g. recycling of crisps, pens, glue-sticks as a result of learning about disadvantaged, and exploitation of natural world;
- our Year 6 monitors and Team Captain roles are aspirational and opportunity for pupils to apply their skills;
- our Behaviour Shaping Policy supports and educates pupils to make positive choices;
- all pupils shape our class charters and consider their role in being responsible neighbours in school and beyond;
- all pupils engage in social action, developing a concern for justice, transforming the lives of others. Through planned and purposeful opportunities, connections with others, and overcoming adversity, children learn the tools to become courageous advocates: empathy, courage, resilience, hope, critical thinking;
- children have and create opportunity to respond to need in our community, discussing, taking action and considering how further they can address problems at the source. Pupils recognise their desire to help is rooted in living ‘fruitfully’;
- children seek to serve all without discrimination through their charity work;
- annually children are informed of local need in community of families who won’t have toys to give at Christmas and children donate toys to the local Salvation Army who work with local authority. This year children from MSJ Parliament visited TSA and helped choose and wrap toys for children and shared their experience and thanked the school for their support and the difference it had made;
- our Harvest celebrations support our local Food Bank and close work over several years created a culture where children now regularly bring food to collection points we have in school to support local community need;
- all pupils had opportunity to ask questions directly with charity leader of Stand Up and Build about how their learning and advocacy would make a difference;
Our children are highly considerate of others:
- during our Global Neighbours week all pupils were invited to bring money to spend at our market place with games and products created by the pupils. 2 pupils in Year 5 didn’t want to win the prizes so that young children could but did want to selflessly donate their money to the cause of this year;
- a Year 6 pupil initiated a fundraising activity in response to the situation in Ukraine working with the school community and beyond to raise over £3000 for Christian Aid;
- a Year 2 pupil moved by our reflections in worship on the situation in Ukraine and desire to help those had been affected by war, brought his pocket money to the office and asked how he could donate it to help those who needed it more than he did.
Furthermore, as a school we seek to model the skills we desire our pupils to develop. Therefore,
- School leaders work with the wider community to model how in our decision making future generations considered and impact on our world. Planned projects fundraised for, built and explained in a way which is sustainable, long
- lasting impact and legacy. (School adventure playground, swimming pool);
- Supportive relationships are formed with families, modelling to children the role they will play as caring adults in community in the future;
- for all children, the whole child’s development is regularly monitored and supported by staff and directors’
- parents and friends of the school fundraise extensively to provide the best opportunities for children (e.g. Swimming Pool, playground developments, library).
In our SIAMs (2022), MSJ was praised for ensuring ‘pupils’ character development is admirable and well rounded. The school’s vision and values are reflected in the way pupils reach out to local, national and global communities. Pupils make a positive and significant contribution to society.
The impressive school parliament and its sub committees (justice and poverty, wellbeing, ethos, and eco) enjoy engaging with the school community. Pupil elected Members of Parliament (MPs) are called to represent the school and engage in campaigning to the local MP to take their ideas back to the Houses of Parliament. Pupils are vociferous advocates for raising money for charities, local, national and global events. Pupils are developing links that they have with a charity in Burundi to help them build classrooms, dormitories, toilets and to provide electricity. World events inspire pupils to continuously think what they can do to make a difference in their own time. Pupils initiate impressive independent fundraising events. For example, one pupil played the guitar for seven hours and through sponsorship raised over £3000 for refugees in Ukraine. The pupil explained that money was the key to help the people of Ukraine so that they can buy what they need.’