The strengths of our character

Posted 5 November 2021 11:29am

We have referenced the work of Professor Lea Water’s a great deal in the Junior School and ELC, as we have drawn on research to strengthen the School’s wellbeing programs and practices. Many of our students and staff have also taken the VIA Character Strength Survey from the VIA Institute on Character, to see where there strengths lie; as we much prefer to use a strengths-based approach to tackle adversity and build character.

The combination of strengths in every classroom is diverse and can be useful in helping students to understand how they learn and socialise as well as provide information for teachers to best cater for the needs of individuals and groups. The VIA Institute writes that character strengths matter because they ‘…are the positive parts of your personality that make you feel authentic’.

Each of the 24 character strengths fall under one of six categories – wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. All 24 character strengths and the overarching categories are equally important; however, it is courage that is resonating with me at the moment. Courage is one of Canberra Girls Grammar School’s core values, and just this morning I read an article by Professor Water’s that highlights how courage and character strengths can be used to deal with anxiety, especially as we all adjust to life after lockdown.

“As a parent or an educator, you can help your child deal with their fears and anxiety by guiding them to increase their courage in a strength-based way….Courage itself is [also] a strength and it can be built by connecting your kids with their other strengths. You can use their strengths to build up their courage and take the worthwhile risks that help them grow.” Lea Waters

The character strengths test is online and free. If you are interested in finding out more or taking the test yourself please go to -

Professor Waters also has an online program that may be of assistance. Strength Switch - Online Positive Family Program.


Angela Whitaker

Deputy Principal (Head of Junior School)