Personality & Character Traits
Educators and scientists agree that having specific personality and character traits are paramount to success in education and life. Kidamentals intent is to provide a resource to increase awareness, learn about, and discuss cultivating these traits in our children.
Specific Kindergarten Readiness Characteristics
Go to the Kidamentals page for Kindergarten Readiness where we provide information from WaKIDS on characteristics that children entering kindergarten are expected to have, such as:
Now, let's dig into the essential life skills and traits for our children's success in education and life!
Caring (Kind; Nice; Fair; Ethical)
- Growing to be a respectful, caring, and responsible adult
- Learn more through Harvard's Making Caring Common Project
- The desire and ability to verbally exchange ideas, feelings, and concepts with others. This is related to a sense of trust in others and pleasure in engaging with others, including adults.
- Sense of control and mastery of one's body, behavior, and world
- Feels likely to succeed at what he undertakes and that adults will be helpful
Curious (Interested; Inquisitive)
- Taking an interest in experience for its own sake; finding things fascinating
- The sense that finding out about things is positive and leads to pleasure
Enthusiastic (Zest; Excited; Energy)
- Approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated
- Read more in the Kidamentals Blog, "Zest - Approaching Life with Excitement and Energy"
Grateful (Appreciative; Thankful)
- Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen
- The wish and capacity to have an impact and to act upon that with persistence. This is related to a sense of competence, of being effective.
Optimistic (Hope; Hopeful)
- Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it
Persistent (Grit; Resilient)
- Finishing what one starts; completing something despite obstacles
- Read more in the Kidamentals Blog, "Persistence. Resilience. Grit"
- Utilize the 10 tips for promoting strength, resilience, and perseverance from Scholastic.com
- Learn about key considerations in, "What’s Wrong with Grit?" from University of California Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center
Self-Controlled (Self-Regulation; Executive Function; Focus; Disciplined; Forward looking)
- Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; can defer gratification
- The ability to modulate and control one's own actions (e.g. impulses) in age-appropriate ways; a sense of inner control
- Learn more at Harvard's Center on the Developing Child - Key Concepts: Executive Function
Socially Intelligent (Intuitive; People smart; Understanding; Cooperative)
- Having the tools to successfully navigate the social world, such as being aware of the current surroundings/situation and reacting appropriately to social cues
- Having the ability to work with and cooperate with others
- Ability to engage with others based on the sense of being understood by and understanding others
Kidamentals has utilized the following sources for researching, understanding, and conveying information. Kidamentals also recommends these sources for parents or caretakers of children to attain a deeper understanding of the aforementioned personality and character traits:
Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. New York: Oxford University Press/Washington, DC: American Psychological Association
Borghans, L., Duckworth, A. L., Heckman, J. J., & ter Weel, B. (2008). The economics and psychology of personality traits. Journal of Human Resources, 43(4), 972-1059.(pdf)
- Resource listing: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~duckwort/research.htm
- Link to document: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~duckwort/images/publications/BorghansDuckworthHeckmanWeel_2008_EconomicsandPsychologyofPersonalityTraits.pdf
Heckman, James J. (2011). The American Family in Black and White:A Post-Racial Strategy for Improving Skills to Promote Equality. The National Bureau of Economic Research
- Link to Resource Listing with available pdf document: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16841
KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, working with Dr. Angela Duckworth, Dr. Chris Peterson, and Dr. Martin Seligman, and in partnership with Riverdale Country School.
- Link to Resource (July 2013): http://www.kipp.org/our-approach/strengths-and-behaviors
Farrington, Camille A.; Roderick, Melissa; Allensworth, Elaine; Nagaoka, Jenny; Keyes, Tasha Seneca; Johnson, David W.; Beechum, Nicole O. (June, 2012). Teaching Adolescents to Become Learners: The Role of Noncognitive Factors in Shaping School Performance (pdf)