Focus on values is all part of a day at school

19:43, Nov 07 2012

Building good character in children at school is something that has been a bit neglected, says Spring Creek School principal, Andrew McFarlane.

But his and other New Zealand schools are working hard at teaching strong values through the New Zealand Character Education Foundation.

The foundation held it Character Counts Week during which Spring Creek School had its: Responsibility for your environment day.

Pupils put aside their books and worked in their edible garden and orchard as well as doing other jobs.

"We have always taught values at the school," said Andrew. "We believe that character development is an important part of what schools are about."

The school has been involved with the foundation for the past eight years and Andrew said they have had great feedback from parents.


"They like that we reinforce what they teach in the home."

Character Education focuses on eight values - consideration, honesty, compassion, kindness, obedience, respect, responsibility and duty, with duty the core value around which the others revolve, said Andrew.

The values are built into all aspects of school life with responsibility being the theme for this term.

An important part of the programme is teaching the kids how to deal with various situations by having the right mindset and vocabulary.

"If they find themselves in a difficult situation, like conflict with someone else, then they will have been taught how to deal with it and how best to respond," said Andrew, who is a Character Education Foundation New Zealand trustee.

The school also takes on fundraising such as helping raise money for Christchurch earthquake victims and for teen cancer support, CanTeen.

"With learning these values it has made school a better place," said one pupil, Ella Driffill, 10. "We get along really well and we know how to sort situations out."

Her friend, Jamie Doppenberg, 10, agreed. She said she finds the activities they do fun. "I think I will always remember the eight values."

The two girls were taking a break from their work with the other pupils to have a shared lunch.

"We have been working in the orchard weeding and picking up rubbish around the school. It's been fun and we have been doing it with our friends. The teachers teach us and we can repay them by helping out around the school," said Ella.

The Marlborough Express