The students at Charlotte Preparatory School learned lessons about values like courage and responsibility Monday, Jan. 24, from a new set of classroom teachers – their fathers.
Members of the Charlotte Prep Dad’s Club volunteered to lead discussions in all of the school’s classrooms as part of a campus-wide character education and leadership development program.
The discussions tied into the cornerstone of the school’s character education curriculum: the Bud-E program. The program pairs each older student with a younger student to guide and mentor. The buddies meet on Mondays to work together on character education projects, and many develop friendships that extend beyond the required time together.
Every student on Charlotte Prep’s campus took part in Monday’s activities. Older students visited their buddies in their classrooms, participated in discussions led by the dads and led skits and role-playing exercises to reinforce what they’d learned.
“The dads set up today’s program to start by defining their character trait,” Jenny Panther, the school’s communications and marketing director, said Monday. “The students will watch video clips showing characters they know, like Nemo or Harry Potter, and then discuss how the characters showed the trait. They’ll also do some skits and role-playing to show how students can show the traits in everyday school scenarios.”
In one classroom, kindergarteners had paired up with their sixth-grade buddies for a presentation on responsibility.
“There are two parts to responsibility,” Dan Cox, a Charlotte Prep dad, told the students. “One part is doing what you’re supposed to do, and the other is owning that and not blaming someone else when it goes wrong. We all mess up sometimes, and you have to be able to take accountability for your mistake and try harder next time.”
In a fourth-grade classroom, the students’ eighth-grade buddies joined in on a more grown-up discussion about responsibility.
“People think about having responsibilities as a negative thing, but it can be a really positive thing,” Dr. Stephen Brunton, another dad, told the students. “Having responsibilities means you have a place, a role and things you have to do.”
The students discussed the responsibilities they have, including doing well in school, practicing sports or musical instruments and setting a good example for younger students or siblings.
“We’re not just responsible to other people,” one eighth-grader said. “We’re also responsible to ourselves.”
Brunton agreed, telling the students personal responsibilities are just as important as the rest.
“Personal responsibility is the basic foundation,” Brunton said. “Once we are able to take care of ourselves, we are able to take care of others.”
The older students presented the information to their buddies through skits, in which students shirked responsibilities like studying for a test or memorizing lines for a school play, and had to suffer the consequences.
The Bud-E program and projects involving members of the Dad’s Club are based on the teaching methodology described in the book “Little Big Minds” by Marietta McCarthy.
The book outlines ways for adults to help children in kindergarten through eighth grade learn philosophical reasoning and critical-thinking skills.
“The theme of the book is, when you’re working with kids, to go as far as they want to,” Ed Ritter, president of the Dad’s Club, said Monday. “This really resonates with the Charlotte Prep Bud-E program, and we’re always looking for ways to get dads to campus and get them engaged. So we thought this was a great way to have them get involved.”
Charlotte Preparatory School is an independent school serving students in preschool through eighth grade. The school is located at 212 Boyce Road.
To learn more, go online to www.charlotteprep.com.