Every child flourishing
Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education.
Dr Martin Luther King Jr
In order to flourish, children need to develop both their minds and their morals. We believe that schools should be developing pupils who are curious and hard working, who are good and do good.
We start with the idea that education is as much about developing young people’s character strengths and virtues as it is about developing their academic knowledge and skills. Philosophers from Aristotle onwards have argued that the good of young people, and society as a whole, depends on developing both their minds and their characters. This argument is reaffirmed by the basic common sense of most parents and teachers.
In the last twenty years we have got better at understanding what the first half of that statement involves: rigorous approaches to literacy and numeracy, a rich knowledge-based curriculum, and learning opportunities that promote intellectual skills like curiosity and problem solving. Floreat’s educational model includes these academic approaches.
Recent scientific discoveries in the cognitive sciences have confirmed the theories of the classical philosophers. We now know that it is possible to develop character strengths and virtues, and that the impact of doing so is at least as important to young people’s happiness and life chances as it is to their academic achievement. While character education is still in its infancy, there is growing interest in how schools can explicitly put the development of character virtues at the heart of their education. Paul Tough’s recent book ‘How children succeed’ is a useful introduction to some of the evidence about the impact and practice of character virtue education. And the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, one of our strategic advisers, has produced a Framework for Character Education in Schools that we use to inform our own practices.
ED Hirsch’s advocacy of a knowledge-based curriculum