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Positive Education

Happy ChildOne of the ways we focus on the Whole Child  is by teaching Positive Education, a character education program, across all of our grades.  Students have a weekly class or “special” devoted to Positive Education. Our curriculum is based in the field of Positive Psychology.

We know that Positive Psychology teaches that every person, regardless of culture, religion or age, possesses 24 character strengths including kindness, teamwork, bravery, creativity, and more.  These character strengths are pathways to a life of well-being and flourishing, which can help people live a better life.  We teach that character is doing the right thing, even when nobody's looking. 

Positive Psychology teaches that raising children with strengths of character is known to lead to a successful adulthood. 

At JAO, we  teach our students that character strengths are the positive parts of everyone’s personality that impact how each individual thinks, feels and behaves.  Understanding that everyone has these strengths, and uses them in different ways, helps provide a positive lens for our students (and teachers!) to view themselves and others. By guiding our students to identify their character strengths, we help them to be their best selves.  Plus, the research tells us that using character strengths can help our students: 

  1. Improve their relationships
  2. Enhance health and overall wellbeing
  3. Buffer against, manage and overcome problems

Ultimately, learning about and working with  character strengths helps our students become more self-aware,  more empathetic, and more capable of managing and overcoming obstacles. Incorporating these “softer skills” with the traditional, rigorous academic curriculum is designed to help our school to pursue the goal of educating the whole child to be strong leaders and contributors to the community.  In addition to the weekly Positive education classes, our faculty practices integrating character strengths in every subject.


Character Strengths

“Teamwork, leadership, kindness, honesty, fairness, forgiveness, perseverance,
and humor are top character strengths that we focus on daily in PE class.
This year, with our positive education program, we are digging deeper
into the meaning of each word.  Having a common language at school
has been extremely helpful.”

- Ann Montgomery, PE teacher

We are grateful to have our families supporting the program.

“Our family is so happy that JAO has included this positive education program
into the school! Our daughter really loves
learning about the different
character strengths and comes home sharing what she has learned
each week! It’s a wonderful way to enlighten our children about
ALL of their strengths and how to use them effectively.”

- Jennifer Hennessee, JAO parent


I am very impressed with the Positive Education program that JAO has instituted.
My son was able to take a personality test and learn about his strengths. In
addition, the kids have weekly social-emotional groups with a
school social worker. I appreciate the fact that JAO values
the whole child and teaches the kids skills to have healthy
relationships with themselves and others.

- Levana S., JAO parent

Not only is our focus on academic excellence but also on educating the whole child, by instilling the values of kindness, self-awareness, mindfulness, leadership, and character.  The idea of 'good character' explicitly supports our school’s efforts to help students appreciate and empathize with others, to think of the world outside themselves, to realize there is more than just their viewpoint.  We hope to foster within our students a strong sense of self so that they may live fulfilling, happy, curious and righteous lives. 
To learn more about Positive Education, book a tour.