Forgiveness Education: Curriculum
Along with a number of colleagues, Dr. Robert Enright began forgiveness education programs in 2002. Curricula for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade are now available. The curriculum guides are comprehensive (most over 100 pages) making them easy for classroom teachers to use.
The guides are available in two formats–the standard version for public schools and the Christian version that includes supplemental information tying the lessons into Christian principles and values. Here are portions of actual curriculum guides for you to review–the introduction and the first three lessons of the 1st Grade Curriculum Guide (Standard Version) and the 1st Grade Curriculum Guide (Christian Version).
The guides focus on Dr. Seuss books in the early grades and on other age-appropriate books, DVDs and websites for older students. Through stories, children learn about the five moral qualities most important to forgiving another person–inherent worth, moral love, kindness, respect and generosity. Dr. Robert Enright
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In the Grade One Curriculum Guide, for example, Dr. Seuss’ book “Horton Hears a Who” is the centerpiece of all of the materials. Horton was chosen because of his oft repeated wisdom: “A person is a person no matter how small.” This idea captures well the concept of inherent worth.
For each grade level the curriculum gets progressively more challenging so that by the twelfth grade the students are encouraged, if they so choose, to bring the principles of forgiveness to their community outside of school. See Curriculum Guides Basic Description for details. This “bottom-up” or grass roots approach is essential to healing one heart at a time. Curriculum guides are available for purchase in the Store.
In 2003, Dr. Enright initiated his first school forgiveness education program with first grade teachers and students in five Belfast schools. Today that program serves more than 1,300 students in 65 classroms and is expanding across Northern Ireland thanks to a partnership arrangement with The Corrymeela Community.
Learn more about curriculum implementation in Ireland, in Wisconsin and the U.S., and around the world in The Growth of IFI Curriculum Programs Around the World. Read the positive results of scientific studies conducted by Dr. Enright in U.S. and Northern Ireland schools at Journal Articles on Forgiveness Education.
The IFI’s Newest Forgiveness Intervention Manual
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"It is our contention that bullying starts from within, as anger, and comes out as displaced anger onto the victim," Dr. Enright explains. "Forgiveness targets this anger and then reduces it, thus reducing or eliminating the displaced anger which comes out as bullying.”