Character Education


Key Stage 2 Parent Resources

The activities below are aimed at children aged between 7 and 11 years and are arranged according to which virtue or virtues they explore. In addition, a list of reading resources for each virtue is provided.
Compassion means exhibiting care and concern for each other and gratitude reflects feeling and expressing thanks for kindnesses shown to you. Below is a collection of activities and books that reflect compassion and/or kindness.

The Jar of Kindness

The Jar of Kindness helps children to reflect on kindness by giving them opportunities to think about how kindness has affected them and how others’ acts of kindness have made them feel.

The Gratitude Chain

The Gratitude Chain gives children a chance to thank those they feel gratitude towards. Parents/guardians can write the messages for younger children, or children can complete the writing task themselves after discussion

The Bear Cave

Parents/guardians and children are encouraged to watch a short film together which highlights compassion to provide inspiration for the child’s own story and to start discussing virtues. The John Lewis 2013 advert, The Bear and the Hare, and talking through what the story might be about and the range of virtues it highlights. Parents/guardians can then help children plan their stories using the bear cave story planner.

A Library of Lemons

The following resources are based on Jo Cotterill’s A Library of Lemons. The book shows how important compassion is, especially in difficult circumstances. Parents/guardians and children can reflect on kindness and resilience together using the structured questions tailored to the book’s content. They can also plan and write a letter together using the letter template.


The book ‘LOVE’ by Matt de la Pena and Loren Long, beautifully shows how love and compassion may happen unexpectedly and vary depending on context. Parents/guardians can help children compose their own poem to reflect love, using the poetry planner. To help with this, we have written some questions on LOVE to help parents/guardians and children to reflect on some of the themes raised by the book. For younger children we have written an acrostic poem as an example they can use for inspiration. For older children, we encourage them to write their own free verse. Both groups can use our bordered paper to add a little decoration to their poems.


Angelo is a touching tale about an elderly man who, when restoring a church, discovers an injured bird. Despite disliking pigeons, Angelo reluctantly rescues the bird and devotes his time to caring for his new feathered friend – which he names Sylvia. Care and compassion are clear throughout, with Angelo and Sylvia continuing their friendship over the years. Towards the end, Angelo begins to worry about what will happen to Sylvia when he’s gone, so he makes sure to find her a permanent home in one of the restored building he’s been working on.


Beegu, by Alexis Deacon, is a story about a lost alien. She is a friendly being, far from home. At first, she finds Earth to be a frightening place; the people do not seem very welcoming. Then she finds some kind children, who make her feel accepted. Beegu remembers the compassion these children showed her, even when she is reunited with her family.

The Iron Man

The Iron Man, by Ted Hughes, is a classic childrens’ tale. It is a story about compassion and kindness overcoming fear and hate. At the centre of the story is the relationship between Hogarth and the iron man. The book shows that, even when we seem very different, we have more in common than we might think; and that understanding and caring for others can make our world a better place.
Why the Wales Came is a book about two friends called Gracie and Daniel who discover that the Birdman, the man they’ve been warned to stay away from, isn’t actually dangerous at all – just misunderstood.  As well as delivering an exciting plot which comes to a climax when the children help the Birdman to battle the greed of others and save the lives of innocent whales, Morgpurgo illustrates both gratitude and compassion throughout. This is evident in how Gracie is grateful to the Birdman for a gift he gives and the time he spends with them; he in turn is grateful to the children for the company and for not treating him like everyone else does. Compassion features in terms of how the children feel sorry for the Birdman and identify with him after discovering that he is deaf and finds communication difficult; he’s not dangerous, just different.
Courage means having the strength and will to know what you should do even though you may be afraid. Below is a collection of books that contain characters that have shown courage as well as stories which acknowledge how difficult it can be to show courage when something scares or frightens you.

The Courage Shield

The Courage Shield gives children an opportunity to think about what courage is and the ways in which courage can be shown.

Ladder of  Bravery

The Ladder of Bravery helps children talk about the things they may be scared of and how, with support, they can identity steps to overcome those fears. Similarly to the compassion activities, parents/guardians can write for the children, or children can complete the writing themselves after discussion.

Black Dog

Black Dog is a story with wonderful illustrations about addressing fears and how to deal with them. When the Hope family look outside their window and see a huge black dog, they hide and refuse to go outside. Even though she is the youngest of the Hope family, Small shows courage and goes outside. She is chased by the enormous black dog, but because she shows no fear, it gets smaller and smaller until it shrinks to the size of a normal dog. This is a great book to talk about fears and how they sometimes grow out of proportion if we don’t face them.

The Dark

This picture book tells the story of a little boy who is afraid of the dark and how he courageously overcomes his fear. Lazlo is afraid of the dark. At night, it spreads through the house but, during the day, it stay where it belongs in the basement. Lazlo hopes that if he visits the home of the dark, it will leave him alone in his room. So, he builds up the courage to go to the basement. There, the dark helps him to be a little less afraid. This story could be used to discuss things that we are afraid of and strategies to help us be a little less afraid! 


Beowulf follows the epic quest of a brave warrior who seeks to defeat Grendel and other terrifying monsters that confront him. In order to do this and overcome the fear that would grip other warriors, Beowulf shows strength and courage to single-handedly save the land. Readers will be engaged by this dramatic re-telling of the battles of Beowulf and, as well as thinking about how courage is shown throughout the story, can consider why Beowulf chose to put himself at risk to save others.

Edgar and his Special Friendship

The little girl, Ava, and her excitable friend, Edgar, clearly have a special friendship. Throughout the advert, they demonstrate their friendship on several occasions. Ask your child to order the events and explain how the pair show friendship towards one another.

Edgar and the Virtue of Generosity

Edgar struggles with breathing fire. On a few occasions, during the clip, Edgar’s problem causes damage as he struggles to contain his excitement. Edgar’s friend, Ava, recognises Edgar’s problem and is empathetic towards him. She bakes him a Christmas pudding to put his fire breathing to good use, showing how much she cares about Edgar. Discuss how people experience different problems. Explain that we can help people experiencing problems. Ask your child to identify a problem one of their friends or family members has and how they could help solve the problem through the gift of giving.

Thankful Edgar

Edgar is clearly thankful when the little girl gives him a gift. Christmas is a time for giving, celebrating and sharing your time with your loved ones. With your child, ask them to design a ‘thank you’ card to give to somebody this Christmas. It could be thanking them for a gift or simply their friendship and kindness.
Generosity is the virtue of being kind and generous. Below is a collection of books that contain characters that have shown generosity in different contexts.


An easy way to be generous is to make something and give it away. Cakes are always well received so here is a simple, no-oven recipe that you could make with your child to share with others. Fifteens are a traditional Northern Irish treat.

A Bear Called Paddington

Brought back into popular culture with the recent films, this classic book tells the story of a bear from darkest Peru who arrives in Paddington Station. The Brown family generously welcome him into their home and family… where Paddington gets up to all sorts of well-meaning mishaps! Each chapter is a stand-alone story and children will adore the eccentric main character and his loving family.

Mr Stink

In his appealing, comedic style, David Walliams tells the story of an unlikely friendship between Chloe, an unhappy school girl, and a local homeless man who refers to himself as ‘Mr Stink.’ Their friendship begins through an act of generosity from Chloe and, throughout the story, she defies her mother to help her new friend. This book will have children laughing out loud but has a challenging message around generosity, prejudice and friendship at its core.

The Rainbow Fish

This popular, classic children’s book tells the story of a beautiful fish with shiny, silver scales who has to learn to share with those around her in order to be happy. You could use this book to talk about both the benefits and the costs of being generous.

Honesty means being truthful and sincere to those around you as well as to yourself. Below is a collection of books that reflect honesty in different contexts and situations.

Question Dice

Children can make the die by themselves, or with an adult, and use the question ideas to write some questions on each face. Rolling the die and discussing the question on the face will allow you to explore the story you are reading, and the virtues in it, further.


Michael Morpurgo’s retelling of the classic is the story from a puppet’s perspective. This adaptation keeps true to the heart of the story, while updating the language for a contemporary audience. It’s a lesson in learning the importance of integrity, the hard way. This Pinocchio is more anti-hero than hero; but he provides a great opportunity for child-parent discussion on the importance of honesty, virtue and vice. 

The Honest-to-Goodness Truth 

The Honest-to-Goodness Truth is a story about a young girl called Libby Louise who is told off by her Mum for telling a ‘fib’. Libby Louise promises to never lie again and to only tell the truth. However, Libby Louise finds that her new rule gets her into trouble and finds herself offending her friends and family. This is a fantastic example of how enacting virtues is not always simple and often requires careful deliberation about how to best act given the situation. This is a wonderful story to explore when honesty is appropriate and how to be honest without being hurtful or unkind. 

The Wolf Who Cried Boy

This is an excellent switch on the fable, with lovely illustrations. Tired of boring meals, and keen to have something tasty to eat for dinner, Little Wolf cries “Boy!” and sends his parents off on a series of wild goose chases. Unfortunately, when his favourite food comes walking by, nobody believes him and Little Wolf misses a rare chance to eat his favourite food – boy. 

The Jolly Postman: Or Other People’s Letters

The Jolly Postman: Or Other People’s Letters by Janet and Allan Ahlberg is a lovely compilation of reflections on our favourite fairy tales. Some of these tales include themes of honesty; for example the apology letter from Goldilocks, which shows how taking responsibility and telling the truth can bring us closer together.