Bravery, Humility, Enthusiasm, Open-Mindedness – these are just a few of the 24 character strengths Lakeshore Middle School students are learning about as part of the Positivity Project, or P2.
According to the founders of the Positivity Project, the premise is simple: Together, we can create citizens and leaders who will enhance our communities and country by focusing on character strengths and positive relationships.
At the start of the school year, LMS students took a survey to determine their top character strengths. Then, the P2 curriculum got underway. For 30-minutes, every week, students explore a different character strength through in-class activities, videos, and discussions.
The model of P2 is to make children aware that every one of them has all 24 character strengths, in hopes of providing the foundation for genuine self-confidence grounded in self-awareness. At the same time, it helps children better understand why everyone is different and how to appreciate those differences.
“Relationships are the key to a rich life,” says Lakeshore Middle School Principal, Susan Toothman. “The Positivity Project not only empowers our students to define who they are as an individual, but it encourages them to see the world from another person’s perspective.”
- Through the Positivity Project, students learn to:
- Recognize their own feelings, interests, strengths, and limitations (self-awareness)
- How to regulate emotions and manage daily stressors (self-management)
- Perspective-taking, empathy, and an appreciation of similarities and differences (social awareness)
- Exhibit prosocial behavior and demonstrate positive social skills in order to develop meaningful relationships (relationship skills)
- Make ethical decisions, and strengthen the ability to develop appropriate solutions to identified problems (responsible decision making)
The P2 program is made possible at Lakeshore Middle School thanks to a multi-year Staff Support Grant funded by the Lakeshore Excellence Foundation.
Former LMS Principal Jonathan Swegles initially applied for the funding, and current LMS Principal, Susan Toothman, resubmitted the request to continue the P2 subscription for another year. Toothman says the program’s impact can be seen everywhere you look.
“Every Wednesday, during our school-wide Family Meeting, we recognize one student as our Lancer leader of the week,” says Toothman. “This student is selected by teachers based on how well they model our LMS school motto of ‘Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Each Other, Take Care of This Place,’ which directly correlates to the Positivity Project’s message. The student receives a certificate, gets to place a Lancer Leader of Week yard sign in their yard, and has his or her picture in the hallway for the week.”
In addition, the grade level that best demonstrates the motto in practice for that week receives “The Golden Lance.” Attendance, academics, and behavior are all looked at before that choice is made.
Finally, three Lancer Leader Ticket Winners are announced each week. Students receive tickets from teachers for demonstrating the school motto. The winning students’ names are announced on Monday and they earn a Positivity Project bracelet.
Toothman says there is a lot of excitement surrounding the project, and the reward will be realized for years to come.
“It is an amazing resource for us at LMS,” says Toothman. “We know we are successful when our students realize that other people matter.”
Watch for weekly parenting prompts from the Positivity Project in your LMS student’s weekly, electronic newsletter. For more details on P2, visit: posproject.org