Core Virtues

The Core Virtues program is a practical, non-sectarian approach to character education on the kindergarten to fifth grade levels.

This literature-based program has as its goal the cultivation of character through the promotion of basic moral, civic, and intellectual virtues. It emphasizes such “core virtues” as: respect, responsibility, diligence, honesty, generosity, perseverance, courage, faithfulness, compassion, openness to inquiry, and humility in the face of facts. The program employs quality children’s literature to help children fall in love with the good, and to cultivate a vocabulary of virtue.

The virtues highlighted each month are common ground, consensus virtues and not controversial social or political agendas. The objective is to ignite the imagination of the young, inspiring them to do and be their best.


  • Kindergarten to First Grade: Charity is caring, and working to be kind.
  • Charity is giving of heart and soul and mind.
  • Second to Sixth Grade: Charity is Love.
  • Charity is self-less giving to those in need
  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Charity is the root and mother of all the virtues.


  • Kindergarten to Second Grade: Compassion is feeling what others are feeling and trying to help with their troubles.
  • Third to Sixth Grade: Compassion is feeling the pain of others, and acting to end
    their distress.


  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Courage is doing what is right in the face of fear.


  • Courage is moving beyond fear.


  • Courage is finding the strength to venture and persevere.


  • Kindergarten: Diligence is working your very hardest and staying with it.
  • First and Second Grade: Diligence is steady, earnest, and energetic effort.
  • Third to Sixth Grade: Diligence is steady, earnest, and energetic effort.


  • Diligence is doggedly doing your best.


  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Faithfulness is standing by those we love, those we serve, and what we believe.


  • Kindergarten to Second Grade: Forgiveness is having enough heart to let go of hurt.
  • Third to Sixth Grade: Forgiveness is finding it in your heart to pardon or excuse.
  • Fourth to Sixth Grade: Forgiveness is freeing yourself from anger and the other from guilt.


  • Kindergarten to Second Grade: Generosity is giving without thinking about getting.
  • Third to Sixth Grade: Generosity is giving with an open hand and an open heart.

Gentleness and Humility

  • Kindergarten – Sixth Grade: Gentleness is treating others with kind words and mild manner.
  • Kindergarten – Sixth Grade: Humility is knowing that I am definitely not perfect.
  • Third – Sixth Grade: Humility is avoiding the temptation to exaggerate our own abilities and underestimate those of others.

 Graciousness and Courtesy

  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Graciousness is acting kindly, courteously, and making another feel special. Courtesy is showing respect through kindness, politeness, and consideration of the other.


  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Gratitude is thankfulness for the gift of life and the gifts in life.


  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Heroism is taking noble action for a good cause.

 Honesty and Justice

  • Kindergarten – Sixth Grade: Honesty is truthfulness: loving the truth, telling the truth, and living truthfully in word and deed.
  • Justice is giving the other his or her due.


  • Justice is making a space for the rights and needs of others.


  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Hope is finding the light in the darkness, and trusting in right endings.


  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Joy is the fullness of spirit that blooms from the loving heart.

 Lives to Learn From

  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Learn from those who act well, think well, forge new paths, and seek a better world.

 Love of Country

  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Love of Country means being devoted to our nation—loving its ideals, honoring its heroes, respecting its past, and working hard for a just and noble future.


  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Loyalty is being faithful and true to our duties, relations, and ideals.


  • Kindergarten-Second Grade: Mercy is showing kindness to those who have not been kind to us.
  • Third -Sixth Grade: Mercy is showing compassion to the enemy, the wrongdoer, or those over whom one has power.


  • Kindergarten – Third Grade: Perseverance is sticking to it—even when you’d rather give up.
  • Fourth – Sixth Grade: Perseverance is persisting.
  • Kindergarten – Sixth Grade: Perseverance is pushing on despite difficulty and hardship.

 Respect and Responsibility

  • Kindergarten: Respect is treating others politely and kindly.
  • First Grade: Respect is treating others with high regard regardless of their race, their place, or the color of their face!
  • Second to Sixth Grade: Respect is treating others with high regard.
  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Responsibility is doing your part for the groups that make us whole.

 Self-Control and Self-Discipline

  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Self-control is stopping to think about my actions before I enact them!
  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Self-discipline is applying ourselves to our tasks.
    Self-discipline is giving the best of ourselves, and saying “no” to our weaknesses.


  • Kindergarten – Sixth Grade: Service is helping others with a cheerful heart.


  • Kindergarten – Sixth Grade: Stewardship is caring well for the gifts given us – our life, our world, our talents, and those entrusted to our care.


  • Kindergarten – Sixth Grade: Wisdom is knowledge of the things that matter.


  • Kindergarten to Second Grade: Wonder is to stop and say: “Wow!”
  • Third to Sixth Grade: Wonder is to marvel at mystery, to stand in awe before the unexplained.
  • Kindergarten to Sixth Grade: Wonder is to delight in beauty and mystery.
  • Wonder is the first step on the path to knowledge.


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