Poster Presentation 6th World Congress on Positive Psychology 2019

The Language Of Character Strengths In Early Childhood (#514)

Lisa M Baker 1
  1. Ballarat Grammar School, Alfredton, VIC, Australia


Early Childhood is fertile ground for the implementation of positive education through character strength research. A major focus and positive outcome of early childhood education, globally, is the development of pre-school children’s wellbeing (OECD, 2017). Strong psychological wellbeing for children is emergent and enables capitalization on learning opportunities, positive engagement and relationships. (Marbina et al, 2015; Pollard & Lee, 2003; Ryan & Deci, 2000; Ryff, 1989).

Positive psychology can be authentically applied in formative pre-school years, but there are few evidence-based interventions for educators. The language of VIA Character Strengths is a developmentally appropriate and effective method. This intersection of literature and action research offers practical, evidence informed strategies.

Explicit, formalised and planned teaching of character strengths as a language enables teachers to directly engage with children, build wellbeing literacy and deeper knowledge (Hattie, 2008; Page & Tayler, 2016). Wellbeing literacy, as the vocabulary, knowledge and skills to maintain or improve wellbeing (Oades, Slade & Jarden, 2017), can be activated through character strengths language in early childhood. VIA has been used utilised with adults and adolescents however early childhood has received little attention (Niemic, 2013; Park & Peterson, 2004, 2006; Shoshani, 2018). Opportunities for discussion, innovation and research exist.