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Building Strong Community Foundations for Children & Youth

Developed by the South Fraser Valley Regional Child & Youth Committee in partnership with Fraser Region Community Justice Initiatives Association

About the
40 Developmental Assets

Asset Building

Asset Building

The Fraser
Region Project



Teachers as Asset Builders

What you can do to make a difference in the lives of children and youth


These ideas have been collected for the purpose of providing teachers with simple ways they can incorporate Asset Building into their classrooms everyday! Many of you will find that you are already doing these great things to support your students. The idea of building Assets is to keep doing the great things that you do, but do them more intentionally. As an Asset Builder, you should be able to recognize opportunities to have a positive influence on all children and youth and be able to intentionally act on those opportunities. The child or youth will recognize that you are going beyond expectations to show that you sincerely care about them. That’s the power of building Assets! 

Photo: Mike Cooper, Morguefile



Learn ways in which other support networks, such as parents, coaches, siblings, and service providers, can be Asset Builders and encourage them to take part in this concept.


Have assignments that require students to interview or research someone close to them, such as a parent or other close role model.

Example: Have students write about a positive story from their parent’s/guardian’s childhood, including detailed information that requires the student and parent to spend time talking about the parent’s childhood. 

Get to know your students beyond the minimum of knowing their name. Talk to them about other parts of their lives, such as hobbies, sports, and entertainment.


Really listen to students when they talk to you. Show that you are actively listening by facing them and making eye contact with them while they speak.


Have regular check-in’s with parents/ guardians just to see how they are doing. Create a bond with parents so they feel comfortable talking with you if any problems arise.

Example: Call parents after school hours and report good information about how their child is doing.


Look for learning opportunities that allow students to go out and learn in their communities. Also work at bringing community resources into the classroom as well.


Have programs set up in your class that involve students working with other students to solve problems or get help with school work.

Examples: Peer mentorship, peer mediation, peer tutoring, or peer counselling.

Educate your class on the 40 Developmental Assets and have them fill out the Assets Checklist so they can learn more about their strengths and needs.



Always expect that each student will do their best.


Set high standards for students and have consistent boundaries and consequences. Ensure that all students have the same consequence for inappropriate behavior and that the consequence is directly related to the inappropriate behavior.


All students should be well aware of the boundaries in the classroom.

Example: Have the class create a poster together about the guidelines for the classroom. Let them contribute ideas to the list of guidelines as well.

Consequences should be constructed as a way that offers learning and insight for the student, not as a strategy for shaming or guilt.

Example: When a student acts out in class, refrain from having an open conversation about it in front of the entire class. Talk to them quietly and directly about their inappropriate behaviour, and ask t continue the conversation at a time when there are no others present.


Scheduling meetings that will not go into the average dinner time. This may be the only time that some families have to spend together. This time is valuable and should be respected.


Go out of your way to acknowledge colleagues and students when you see them being Asset Builders.


Example: Thank students/colleagues for their efforts or have a thank-you card made that you can hand out.

Design projects for your class that involve them creating visual ideas and pictures of how they see their community when Assets are in action.

• Have your class create a mural, painting or video together. This can symbolize the importance of working together and bonding as a community.

• Have your class create a mural/ painting of the ideal Asset rich community (a community that builds all the developmental Assets), and have your class aim to create that community in the classroom. 

Show consideration for students’ need to be involved in extracurricular activities.

Example: Have assignments due with at least two evenings to complete them in case students have another commitment on one of the evenings.

Spend time with students learning the biographies of famous musicians, actors, political leaders/activists, and other important figures. Talk to them about Assets that are/were present in the people you are studying and how these assets may have contributed to who they are/were.


Discuss music, art, and entertainment with your students and analyze the messages. Create a way to demonstrate the positive and negative ways that these messages influence youth. 



Create a class project that allows the students to express the philosophy of Asset Building.

Make a poster that visually represents Asset Building, create a video about Asset Building, or dedicate a page in the school yearbook to Asset Building.  

Take advantage of class assignments, conversations, and projects to have the students learn about the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices in their lives.


Have a classroom wall space dedicated to Asset Building messages, ideas, news or information. 



Provide useful websites to your students that focus on the value of Building Assets in schools.


Have a list of the 40 Developmental Assets posted in your classroom.



Create a project that involves students gathering information about someone that they admire or look up to for making positive contributions to their communities. This person can be anyone. Let students share with classmates the reasons they chose this person and what values they particularly admire.


Have the class create a list of shared values that can be posted on the wall for everyone to see. Come to a consensus about what everyone needs to do to make sure these values are upheld in the classroom. Have clear boundaries around these values.


Spend time with your students learning skills around active listening, empathy, and effective communication. To make it interesting, find activities and games that teach these skills which are age appropriate for the class.


Consistently model positive values to your students.


Example: Be unconditionally respectful and caring towards students. Use your active listening skills to show that you care and respect what they have to say. 


Every year, budget for students to have school agendas. If this is problematic with your administration, encourage them to provide this resource for the students. Make time at the end of each class so your students can fill in their agendas with upcoming due dates and events that are happening.


Allow students to plan events at the school. Offer assistance and guidance where needed but allow the students to take on most of the responsibility for the event or project.

Examples: School dances, fundraisers, assemblies, and special events.

Set up time for class meetings on a regular basis. Open the discussion up so that students can comfortably speak about how they feel about the topics being discussed.


Example: Have a class meeting once a month to discuss classroom issues and ideas that are raised by you and by the students. Have a system in place where students can write down topics/ideas place them in a box in the classroom. These can range from fun class projects to ways of improving the classroom or the school. Make sure that the meetings are positive, inclusive discussions that are not dominated by one or two people but rather where everyone has input.

Support and promote anti-bullying days or events. Have group discussions on the impact of bullying on students and ways to minimize the amount of bullying that takes place at your school.


Be culturally sensitive, and explain to your students the importance of respecting all cultures.


Have weekly class time dedicated to learning about different cultures and their history.

Example: Create projects where students study different cultures and ethnicities and have them present their learnings to the rest of the class.


Focus on students’ long-term goals and short-term assignments and projects. Work with students to create long-term goals for themselves and build skills with them to help achieve those goals.


Have frequent class discussions about the notion of “choices”. Find interesting learning material on this subject and present it to your class.


Example: Have the class watch a movie that highlights how the choices people make can make a extremely large difference in the direction their lives take. Debrief with your class after the film with questions and breakout groups. 

Spend time in class talking with your students about certain safety hazards that they may come across in their youth. Have ideas for ways of handling these safety issues.

Example: Designate a time each week that you spend talking about personal safety. Have a new topic ready to discuss for each week. Ideas for topics may include violence, drug and alcohol use, natural disasters, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, engaging in deviant behavior, etc.

Be cautious in your grading style. Try to focus on the positive points, with constructive feedback on how your students can improve.


Adapted from Pass It On! Ready To Use Handouts for Asset Builders, ©1999 by
The Search Institute