Virtues To Live By
Catholic Character Education
The children at St Thomas Aquinas School learn about Christian virtues and Gospel values through the “Virtues to Live By” scheme which aims to support children’s personal growth and choices so that they can show excellence in their Christian character.
For every child to flourish, each virtue is explored over a three-week period (two per half term) as we improve the school community’s virtue literacy and to deepen understanding and appreciation of the essential role that virtues play in the education of the whole person. The virtues chosen are common across cultures and faiths but are sourced from the Christian tradition. They are linked directly to work in the Diocese of Leeds on virtues and character education (see companion documents here).
At STA, a new virtue is introduced every three weeks. The children think about what the virtue means, how we can see it in others and how we can manifest it in ourselves. During the week, acts of worship and circle times take place which develop understanding of the virtue. During Friday's Celebration Assembly, a child who has 'lived' the virtue across the week will be recognised and invited to afternoon tea with a member of senior staff.
Teachers also use the “Virtues to Live By” resources to reflect and deepen their own understanding of the virtues.
The guiding principles of the scheme ensure that children and young people are given opportunities to:
- Grow in their knowledge and understanding of the virtues.
- Practise the virtues to further the call to live life to the full.
- Appreciate the connection between biblical and practical wisdom and living.
- Hear the Christian story and encounter it in practice.
- Understand their uniqueness and dignity as made in the image and likeness of God.
- Know that our limitations are also opportunities for growth.
- To notice, to reflect and to pray.
- To exercise the cognitive, affective and behavioural components of character: know it in your head, feel it in your heart and show it with your hands.
The virtues have been chosen to reflect the time of year. So, for example, we have 'respect and courtesy' at the beginning of the year when we are setting out our expectations, charity and forgiveness during the season of Lent, and patience during Advent when we are waiting for the coming of Jesus at Christmas.
Virtues For Autumn Term 2023
Respect - “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12
Courtesy - “Do not speak evil of anyone, but be peaceful and friendly, and always show a gentle attitude towards everyone.” Titus 3:2
Thankfulness - “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 106:1
Hope - “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Patience - “Be patient and wait for the Lord to act, don’t be worried about those who prosper or those who succeed in their evil plans. Don’t give in to worry or anger; it only leads to trouble.” Psalm 37:7-8