Research shows that American parents’ foremost goal is to raise children with moral virtues like honesty and kindness (Culture of American Families Project, UVA), but they frequently send messages to their children that undermine this goal (The Children We Mean to Raise, Harvard). Researchers are gaining new insights into how to cultivate character, but scientific insights do not necessarily lead to widespread adoption. Though many schools and churches teach character virtues, parents remain children’s most influential teachers of character.
There’s strong evidence that face-to-face parent education programs can change parent behavior, but such programs reach only a tiny fraction of the nation’s parents. GreatSchools’ rare combination of parenting expertise and digital technology makes it possible to scale such efforts for a broad public audience. For the past 15 years, we have informed millions of parents on the best practices gleaned from education and psychology.
Through this project, GreatSchools proposes to communicate the science behind the development of character virtues to American parents, developing and distributing digital content designed to optimize behavior impact.
With funding from the Templeton Foundation, we propose to:
?Create an advisory board of experts from the nation’s leading institutions on character development to inform our research, content, and communication strategies.
?Launch modules of our website dedicated to key character virtues and publish 20+ articles, videos, and infographics highlighting insights from the science of character building.
?Market and distribute the content to more than 1 million people through our website, email newsletters, partner network, and social media channels.
?Plan innovative digital media tools designed to foster character development in children, with rapid cycle feedback.
This project will be the first of several to build parent capacity to support children's character development.