Young kids can learn the building blocks of forgiveness and develop them as they get older.
As homeschoolers, we make sure we teach character education to our kids, and we make a special effort to lead by example. At our house, we’ve spent time on the importance of telling the truth, doing our best, helping others, empathy, etc. One subject I like to re-visit over and over again, is forgiveness. So I was really over the moon when I recently learned about Robert D. Enright, Ph.D., Forgiveness Education, and the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI).
The International Forgiveness Institute believes forgiveness is a choice.
“If you have been deeply hurt by another, you can choose to forgive rather than holding on to anger and resentment. In doing so, an amazing transformation begins. The black clouds of anxiety and depression give way to enhanced self-esteem and genuine feelings of hopefulness. When you forgive, you may benefit the person you forgive. But you benefit yourself far more. By liberating yourself from the pain and sorrow, you can reclaim your life and find the peace that your anger had stolen.”
And the International Forgiveness Institute has developed a Forgiveness Education curriculum for kids preK -12th Grade.
The curriculum guides are comprehensive (most over 100 pages). The guides focus on Dr. Seuss books in the early grades and on other age-appropriate books, DVDs and websites for older students. Each guide is complete and there is nothing else you need to buy because professionally-written storybook summaries are included with each curriculum guide (in case you don’t have access to the actual book). Through stories, children learn about the five moral qualities most important to forgiving another person – inherent worth, moral love, kindness, respect and generosity.
- You can click here to see the entire list of available curriculum guides plus an overview of each of the guides.
- You can also read a basic description of each curriculum guide here.
- Each of the curriculum guides is available in two formats–a “Standard Version” for secular homeschoolers and a “Christian Version” for those who prefer faith-based materials. Here are excerpts of the 1st Grade Curriculum Guide (Standard Version) and of the 1st Grade Curriculum Guide (Christian Version).
The curriculum encompasses 12 to 16 lesson plans (one-half to one hour or less per week for each lesson) that teach students about respect, inherent worth, empathy, all in the context of forgiveness.
For each grade level the curriculum gets progressively more challenging so that by the twelfth grade the students are encouraged, if they so choose, to bring the principles of forgiveness to their community.
There’s even an an Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Curriculum designed for students in grade 4 (age 9) through grade 9 (age 14). I know…..none of us believe our kids are bullies…..but sometimes my 10 year old can be a bit mean to his younger brother……
Here’s some basic info regarding the International Forgiveness Education Curriculum
And here’s more specific info regarding the International Forgiveness Education Curriculum
Below are Descriptions of Each IFI Forgiveness Curriculum Guide Pre-K-Grade 12
Here are sample pages from The Adventure of Forgiveness – Grade 1 Curriculum Guide, Standard Version – and corresponding book summaries
Dr. Enright’s curriculum guides have been scientifically tested and proven, in a wide range of studies around the world, to help kids feel better about themselves, strengthen their relationships, reduce anger, develop prosocial behaviors, and improve academically. Dr. Enright’s ultimate goal with the guides is to help kids grow up to be more peaceful and forgiving adults.
Yes, I realize the above statement is a strong statement, but the evidence to support it can be found:
a) As detailed by a developmental psychologist with expertise in parent-child relationships, as she states in this newsletter
b) In the more than 30 blogs Dr. Enright has written for Psychology Today, especially “Why We Need Forgiveness Education”
c) In the many peer-reviewed empirical studies available on the International Forgiveness Institute Research Page
What do I like about this curriculum?
- The subject matter – and the hope that it inspires. I want my kids to be able to forgive.
- HOW the subject matter is taught, the tie-in to kid’s literature – something they’re already familiar with.
- The use of videos and stuffed animals which add to the fun – I believe fun learning “sticks” with kids.
- The fact that this curriculum grows with your child – and you can teach multiple ages at the same time. Because of this, it’s a perfect fit for family teaching.
- Options. You can purchase an electronic version of the guide that will be emailed to you, or hard-copy, spiral bound versions. Just FYI – I like the spiral bound versions. 🙂 You can also choose the Christian or secular curricula.
And FYI – here’s a quick A Family Guide to Forgiveness Education
The Forgiveness Education Program is being taught in homeschools throughout the U.S. and in more than 30 countries around the world.
Do you think your children will benefit from learning about forgiveness?
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- Forgiveness Education Product Review