Character is a set of personal traits that produce specific emotions, inform motivation and guide conduct. Character education is an umbrella term for the educational activities that help young people develop positive personal strengths, or virtues.

Why is Character Education important?

Character Education is integral to Aquinas College’s aim and purpose – to produce well-rounded Christian men who seek to be the best they can be for themselves and for others. Specifically, Character Education:

  • Encourages students to understand, value and demonstrate the positive behaviour traits for healthy relationships and an inclusive society;
  • Promotes the importance of having a growth mindset to support general wellbeing and mental health;
  • Supports the development of vital skills to live a balanced and successful adult life and contribute to the betterment of society;
  • Instils students with a moral compass to nurture the flourishing of human goodness and faith formation.

How do we build character in boys?

We have whole school approach to character development in boys. We believe character can be:

Character Caught: Role models provide character education through everyday interactions, which is why staff/student relationships are an extremely important part of character development. It is everyone’s responsibility to model good character.

Character Taught: We explicitly teach about character through academic classes, assemblies, and pastoral care activities.

Character Sought: Students are given opportunities to practice and strengthen their character through a wide variety of co-curricular activities.

Character Framework for Building an Aquinas Graduate

Character Education

Junior School
Middle School
Senior School

Junior School

Character Caught: Boys in the Junior School catch character by being exposed to a range of role models, including teachers, parent helpers and the Middle School Mentor Program where Year 9 boys attend Junior School classes to assist teachers and interact with the younger boys. All boys are challenged to become a role model by making every day a better day for others.

Character Taught: Our lead character educator teaches weekly lessons (CHED) focusing on moral development, civic obligation, manners, and character strengths. We run The Resilience Project where classroom teachers explicitly teach gratitude, empathy, and mindfulness weekly and foster the skill of emotional literacy in our youngest learners. Our leadership team engage with students, staff and the parent community to foster the same set of skills and values.

Character Sought: Boys are encouraged to seek opportunities to develop their character through the many Service Learning activities offered outside of school hours or by participating in the College Leadership program. Our before and after school clubs provide chances for boys to grow their character by partaking in things, they may have never experienced such as cooking, dance, robotics, rock band, STEM, or learning Mandarin. The Duke of Edinburgh Ignite program is offered to boys in the Junior School.

Middle School

Character Caught: Boys in the Middle School catch character by being exposed to role models, including teachers, PSA coaches and Year 10 Mentors who assist Year 7s as they transition into the Middle School. All boys are challenged to be agents of positivity, by modelling kindness every day.

Character Taught: In the Middle School two lessons a week are dedicated to the teaching of a specific character curriculum called, Veritas. The course teaches the 5 C’s of 21st Century learning: character strengths, communication skills, creativity, critical thinking, and citizenship. In addition, there is also a focus on respectful relationships, leadership skills and the benefits of having a growth mindset.

Character Sought: Boys are provided opportunities to develop their character through our Christian Service Learning program, particularly through our partnerships with The Special Olympics, Cancer Council Relay for Life, Leeuwin Ocean Adventure, and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award - Australia. Year 9 boys are encouraged to build their character by undertaking the College’s Male Rite of Passage program called ‘The Odyssey’.

Senior School

Character Caught: Boys in the Senior School catch character by being exposed to role models, including teachers, PSA coaches, Alumni guest presenters and prospective employers through the College work experience programs. Boys are challenged to demonstrate authentic leadership and service to the wider community and be inspiring role models for other.

Character Taught: All Learning areas interweave character education within their courses. Each week during tutor time boys engage in Wellness Wednesday to learn about character, habits and practices that contribute to better health and wellbeing. Throughout the year boys have presentations encouraging positive character development from organisations such as Red frog, Headspace, Youth Choices, Elevate Education and Tomorrow Man.

Character Sought: Boys in the Senior School have opportunities to develop their character through our Christian Service Learning program and participating in the Indigenous Immersion tour to the Kimberly or Social Justice Immersion tour to the Philippines. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award extends into the Senior School allowing boys to complete the Silver and Gold Awards. Boys have the option to engage with the Student Leadership Program to become a College Prefect and Captain.