“I can sum up positive psychology in just three words — Other People Matter. Period. Anything that builds relationships between and among people is going to make you happy.” -Dr. Chris Peterson
What is The Positivity Project?
The Positivity Project is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to helping America’s youth build stronger relationships by recognizing the character strengths in themselves and others. Their vision is to create citizens and leaders who will enhance our communities and country by internalizing the belief that “Other People Matter.” Positive psychology’s scientifically validated 24 character strengths serve as its foundation. Positive psychology teaches that people have all 24 strengths within them – and that character is not just skills or behaviors, but rather an intrinsic part of each of us.
The Positivity Project is not a program with strict guidelines. Instead, it educates teachers on the character strengths and relies on them to teach in a way that best meets their students’ needs. It is a school-wide endeavor, grounded in the consistency of daily classroom instruction. Their model is holistic; it incorporates students, educators, and parents through regular interaction with character strengths vocabulary and concepts.
The project will help educators instill vocabulary and the meaning of the strengths through explicit teaching of each strength for 10 minutes per day. Schools will dedicate 1-2 weeks to each strength to help students understand them through definition, examples, discussions, and exercises. Schools and educators are encouraged to tailor the materials for their own best use, as they know their students and curriculum better than anyone else.
What are the benefits of implementing The Positivity Project?
The Positivity Project ideals evolve throughout a student’s whole school career. The 24 character strengths develop and gain more meaning for students as they grow. Once students learn the meaning of each strength and what it looks like, they can then be embedded into the curriculum in every subject area. The character strengths become a part of a common language and they will see them in everything that they do.
The Project teaches children by acknowledging that the 24 character strengths are already a part of who they are as people. It helps them to realize that each and every one of them have these strengths. There is no system in place to reward students who demonstrate “Good Character”. Rewards are fun to earn but they are finite because they are external. We want children to internalize the traits that society honors. Acknowledgement to oneself and realizing that you have the power to effect others in a positive way is much more meaningful and rewarding.
Positive character strengths can and should be acknowledged in the classroom, as it gives students a richer understanding of what the character strength looks like in their peer group. Students understand that they have their own “Super Power” and they will be acknowledged and valued for their own character strengths.
How can you help?
We would love for you to take an active role in your child’s character strength education. By using the character strengths vocabulary and having discussions about the concepts, you will help your child understand the character in themselves and others in a different light. You can follow our social media handles to see what we’re doing each day – and please feel free to reach out for more information or visit the Positivity Project website by visiting this link.