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Virginia Road Elementary Implements New Character Education Initiative

The students at Virginia Elementary Road School learn about making socially responsible decisions, which can create positive change in the school environment.
The students at Virginia Elementary Road School learn about making socially responsible decisions, which can create positive change in the school environment. Photo Credit: Valhalla School District
The young students were engaged and participated during the "Bucket Filling" presentation, raising their hands and shouting out the answers
The young students were engaged and participated during the "Bucket Filling" presentation, raising their hands and shouting out the answers Photo Credit: Valhalla School District

VALHALLA, N.Y. -- Virginia Road Elementary School in Valhalla implemented a new character education initiative for the 2015-16 academic year to encourage students to be friendly and respectful toward one another.

The program, titled “Bucket Filling,” is based on the self-help book “Have You Filled A Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids” by Carol McCloud.

The premise is to reinforce socially appropriate behavior in school, which also translates to the children’s lives outside of school. The term “bucket filling” refers to an invisible bucket in which people keep their good feelings. When the buckets are full, people are happy or excited; when they are empty, people are sad or angry.

On Sept. 8, Jan Merz and Peggy Johncox from Bucket Fillers, the company that invented and spreads the concept, visited Virginia Road for a special presentation.

The young students were engaged and participated, raising their hands and shouting out the answers when Merz and Johncox asked questions.

During the presentation, the students were given tools to make socially responsible decisions, which can create positive change in the school environment. They understood that they have the power to fill someone else’s bucket (for example, by giving a compliment or helping someone) or to fill their own (by learning or doing an activity they enjoy). On the other hand, they also understood that they have the power to dip into somebody’s bucket (by calling them names or being purposefully disrespectful) or to dip into their own (by criticizing or belittling themselves).

“When you have love and you give it away, it comes back to you,” said Ada Jimenez-Parker, the Virginia Road School principal. “So give it away. It comes back double in return.”

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