By Carlie Connolly
At the Jan. 13 Prairie Rose School Division meeting, four Ralston school students came in with teacher, Janet Kraft to present ’14 Pillars to Build Our Character, which went into affect at the beginning of the school year. The program aims to support and inspire the whole school, including the teachers and the students.
The school determined 14 character traits that will act as pillars to work on and towards. They include: citizenship, leadership, caring, compassion, courage, integrity, responsibility, trustworthiness, self-control, kindness, perseverance, self-discipline, honesty and cooperation.
Students in Grades K to 9 have been put in groups in one of the 14 character traits, which are also coded by colour. At the school’s monthly assemblies, the members wear a colour coded necklace, representing their trait. Out of the whole school, the older students take on a strong leadership role as they help to guide students in the younger grades. So far, the school has had five different assemblies to date since the start of the school year. The traits of citizenship, leadership, caring, compassion, courage, integrity, responsibility and trustworthiness have been looked at by the students and implemented into their lives both inside and outside of school.
“We work to become ethical citizens in our assemblies by sharing with our families what we have learned in each assembly. We also wish to expand our future assemblies and invite members of the community in to present information and share ideas and stories,” said Kraft in the presentation.
The students at the Prairie Rose meeting discussed the various months and what they have done so far with the different traits. In the September assembly, both citizenship and leadership were touched on with group members and leaders having the chance to meet one another and create their own colour group. The colour group necklaces were also handed out and the group got the chance to know on another along with creating a group song.
The October assembly was led by Ralston’s student council and the students listened to a book titled, ‘How full is your bucket.” The students proceeded to put on a skit to show the others the meaning of the book. It tells the story about the importance of caring and showing compassion to others. It’s the idea of having an invisible bucket on our heads, and for every time we treat someone badly, the bucket will get too full for the individual to handle. If the student says and does nice things to others, the bucket will remain empty and won’t get them wet. The groups of students later got together to complete a bucket project within their classroom.
The November assembly discussed the traits of courage and integrity, tying in with Remembrance Day. The groups watched a video titled, ‘Do they know it’s Christmas.’ It showed a powerful video of individuals less fortunate, along with people having courage and integrity, helping those who are in need. The groups later made up ways of showing integrity and courage to others, listing the traits on a paper cut out of a person.
In the month of December, responsibility and trustworthiness were touched upon as the groups created links with their various character traits on them, joining them together to represent Ralston School as one.
Opening up the New Year in January, students learned the trait of self-control. They learned ways to practice self-control, learning to recognize when a person was in control and when they lost it.
“We also realize that each group will build upon their entrepreneur spirit as they build on their previous knowledge. Our goal is for students to learn something from each assembly and be able to apply it to their lives and activities outside the school,” Kraft said.
With five months to go, students are being affected in a positive manner already from the various assemblies.
” I like how we go into the gym and work with different people. My favorite activity was making our person and filling it with courage and integrity words,” Ethan Pegram of Grade 6 said.
Jamie Scott in Grade 7 said, ” I like Ralston School as I see far less bullying. I think this character education program is helping us be nicer to each other”