The Yearly Cycle: How the Rotation of Virtues is Structured


The Core Virtues program highlights a different virtue (or trait derived from a virtue) each month of the school year.  During the academic year, students focus on ten different virtues, and these are tied, in part, to the rhythm and seasons of the traditional 180 day northern hemisphere school year.   Every September, for example, begins with “respect and responsibility” because in classrooms across the country, September marks the beginning of the academic year – the key time for community building, and a time to establish positive classroom ethos and responsibilities. 

Although every September begins with Respect and Responsibility, the Core Virtues program employs a three-year rotation of virtues, alternating related traits in various months from year to year.  We do this to stress the breadth of moral vision that we hope all children will make their own, add variety, and avoid the student response of:  “Ho-hum.  If it’s October, it must be diligence.”

In October, for example, when the blush of “back to school” excitement is off the rose, students reflect on diligence (in year 1), self-control and self-discipline (in year 2), and perseverance (in year 3). 
November, leading up to our nation’s Thanksgiving, is a natural time to highlight the themes of gratitude, wonder, and good stewardship of resources.  December, the time of holiday giving, is nearly synonymous with generosity, charity, and service.  And January, a month of frigid winter for many of us, requires all forms of courage to endure – physical, intellectual, civic, and moral.

Fuller explanations of the rationale for each month are found in the overview text for each month on the Virtue of the Month page.

If you wish to alter the suggested rotations, because you are in the southern hemisphere or because your nation celebrates different holidays, feel free to adapt them!

Cycle of Virtues - Year 1

with grade level definitions

September: Respect and Responsibility

October: Diligence

November: Gratitude

December: Generosity

January: Courage

February: Loyalty

March: Compassion

April: Forgiveness

May: Hope

June: Heroism