Introducing Amika Kali, Elementary Studio Guide at NOLA Micro Schools in New Orleans, LA. Amika talks to us about how she uses Peekapak at her school.
The Need for Character Education
I was motivated to use Peekapak after having a discussion with our school founder, Kim Gibson, about implementing a character education program that our students could relate to. We needed the program to be flexible, able to be used with some independence, and, most importantly, not be boring for students!
I realized that Peekapak fulfilled that need and more.
Modeling Character Traits
The first thing we did when we started Peekapak was to do a character analysis. We discussed the characters, and the teammates (what we call our students) told me how they relate to the characters and their descriptions.
I found that character needs to be modeled while it is being taught. I selected middle school students that exhibited the traits taught by the Peekapak lessons. For example, when we did the Peekapak unit about Courage, I invited a middle school student that showed a lot of courage to help me read the story and lead the lesson activities.
Peekapak’s Impact at NOLA Micro Schools
Peekapak’s program has made a positive impact on both our elementary students and middle school students. The middle school students enjoy being a guide and the elementary students enjoy having someone with a different approach. This allows me to implement leadership and communication skills, and foster healthy relationships.
“I liked teaching the class and I was happy that they were learning the things that we learned last year but in a new and fun way of doing it. I love that the story was about something that can happen to anyone and that the other half of the story was about how to solve it.”
Encouraging student participation in different ways
The importance of learning character education from a young age
Character and Social Emotional learning is important to teach because it fosters communication within children. I think that without the ability to communicate what/how they are feeling, children are left with a sense of emptiness. Character and Social Emotional learning allows them to develop good relationships with themselves and others. The earlier that it is taught and modeled in a child’s life, the more aware they become about themselves, their environment and others.
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