Project T.H.A.N.K.-Y.O.U.

There's A Need for Kindness - Youths Offer Understanding

Character education is woven throughout various aspects of the public school curriculum in New Jersey, but thanks to a $8,856 grant from the NJEA Frederick L. Hipp Foundation for Excellence in Education, more than 500 students will participate in Project Thank-You, an acronym for There?s A Need for Kindness --Youths Offer Understanding.

James Madison Primary School staff members Hope Blecher-Sass, Carole Kunz, Barbara Hailes, Barbara Bell, and Jill Finnerty (Edison Township, Middlesex County) designed this collaborative project for parents, staff, students, sponsors, and volunteers to teach students the importance of character education and literacy in their lives.

The three components, Learning, Locating, and Living, are supported by activities that reflect each principle. In Learning the participants will recognize and identify the character education vocabulary. In Locating they will recognize when other people and literature-based characters demonstrate emotional intelligence. In Living, they will act according to the tenets of good character by reaching out to others.

This extensive project combines traditional, non-traditional, and technology-based experiences.

In addition to reading Dr. Seuss books and studying character development, students will create a web site, enjoy the benefits of the talent of a local ice sculptor, create roadside signs, and reach out to the community.

C.H.E.E.R. Backpacks, Character Education Energized Readers, a project with staff, students, and volunteers packing and presenting newborns of the school family with a readiness backpack filled with information about literacy and character education, an infant sized school T-shirt, an age appropriate book, and a card designed by the pupils will connect the school and community.

To enhance the community-school connection, the project includes:

Community Service: collecting for UNICEF, donating food and making Thanksgiving baskets for the needy, Winter Coat Drive, book collections for the disadvantaged, cleaning the playground;

Home-School Character Connection forms: parents/guardians write how the child?s behavior at home demonstrated an understanding of the word of the month;

Read Across America Day, RAAD: a school-wide story time with an English and Spanish language reading of a Dr. Seuss story, a sign language presentation, and a recording for the blind presentation of the same story, ending with a video version of the book. Volunteers will receive RAAD pins. To promote reading at home, students will receive keepsake Dr. Seuss storybooks.

For more information about this project, contact:

Hope Blecher-Sass
(732) 574-1080