Character Strengths

“It’s a fundamental human truth that people perform better when they’re in touch with things that inspire them.” (Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything)

Work in the area of resilience has been instrumental in shifting from deficit based approaches (a focus on repairing problem behaviours) to strengths based approaches that aim to take advantage of existing strengths, positive qualities and the intentional approach of promoting wellbeing and resilience (Clonan et al., 2004: Masten, 2009; Noble&
McGrath, 2008; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi), 2000; Waters, 2011). Strengths based approaches emphasise and build on the capabilities and resources of children and young people (Alvord & Grados).

The aim of positive psychology is to see people in terms of their strengths and capacities, and to focus on what it is that helps people to thrive (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000).

The following clip, The Science of Character, explains Character Strengths in more detail and stresses the important fact that “Character Strengths can be learned, practiced and cultivated.”

All parents are encouraged to take the VIA (Values in Action) Character Strength Survey and to establish a plan to ensure that you’re making time each week to develop and cultivate your strengths. In reflecting back to a previous newsletter and the description of Martin Seligman’s PERMA model, it is important to note that the regular and systematic actioning of our character strengths will bring an increased sense of Meaning and Accomplishment within our professional and personal lives.

VIA Character StrengthsSource: Building Resilience in children and young people: A literature review for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD), University of Melbourne, 2014

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