Character Education

Briarwood seeks to promote the development of the whole child-intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically. We begin in Lower School with our T.O.P.S. program.

T.O.P.S. (Teaching Opportunities in Pragmatic Skills)

Children with learning differences often have difficulty learning and using social skills and pragmatics (social communication).  Research has shown that children with learning differences and attention deficits have an increased risk of experiencing a lack of friendship, poor self-esteem, substance abuse, and less emotional resiliency as compared to their typical peer group. Similarly to the process of learning academic concepts, children with learning differences benefit from direct instruction and opportunities to practice social skills and pragmatics.  T.O.P.S., Teaching Opportunities in Pragmatic Skills, is a Lower School class unique to Briarwood.  All Lower School students attend the 30 minute class two times each week.  During class, students participate in a variety of games, activities, and individual projects.  They are also introduced to some of the concepts from several best practice interventions, including Social Thinking® and UCLA’s PEERS Program.  In addition, T.O.P.S. explores ideas found in both Angela Duckworth’s Grit and Carole Dweck’s Growth Mindset, T.O.P.S. classes explore the character traits needed to build resiliency and perseverance.

Right Choice Awards

In connection to the direct instruction provided in T.O.P.S., teachers throughout the Lower School reinforce positive characteristics through Right Choice awards,  Each month has a specific trait that is directly taught in T.O.P.S. class, and teachers award individuals when students display one of the character traits.  Our goal, as was said by our founder, Yvonne Streit, is to “catch them doing something good!”  Students are recognized during our morning assembly when they have earned a Right Choice.  By involving everyone, a unity of purpose prevails, resulting in students experiencing the pride that comes from being recognized publically for making “right choices.”

August/September Growth Mindset & Purpose
October Grit
November/December Gratitude
January Optimism
February Social Intelligence
March Self Control
April Zest
May Curiosity

KCC Club (Kindness, Compassion & Courage)

All Lower School students are members of our KCC Club.  KCC stands for Kindness, Compassion, and Courage.  The message of the KCC Club is for students to participate in intentional acts of kindness towards one another.  Students and teachers can give a KCC heart to another student or a teacher that has shown kindness or compassion towards them.  KCC events, such as leadership meetings, toy drives, grade level meetings and all school meetings, are held each month.  Every Wednesday, students and teachers show their KCC pride by wearing the colorful KCC t-shirt,  The KCC Club fosters a caring community and encourages students to look for ways to be kind towards one another, as well appreciate acts of kindness done by others.