I have taught Year 1 for more years that I'd like to mention (it could show my age!) and when I visit other schools to talk about the character strengths and share the cards, many teachers from the younger year groups ask me the same thing - aren't some of the strengths too
complex for the little ones? In short, yes - some of the vocabulary might be a bit tricky for the 3-6 year olds, especially concepts such as spirituality or prudence. However, so many of the strengths are accessible to the younger children if you explain the vocabulary in their language. I have had a few 5 year olds who can easily explain what self regulation means to them (one boy used the example of not rolling around the carpet lol!), as well as some of the deeper strengths, such as judgement.
The key to teaching little ones about strengths is to build on what they already know. They don't have to know about the 6 virtues and 24 character strengths immediately but even learning about a few of the strengths and connecting them to contexts which are relevant and meaningful to them as people, can be hugely beneficial. Younger children are like sponges and we squeeze so much into their school day but one thing I know for sure is, they will surprise you with just how articulate they can be when discussing the character strengths after only some short, sharp bursts of conversation with you about the meanings of the words.
1) Use the pictures on the strengths cards to try and figure out what the words might mean.
2) Spend time chatting about the child friendly definition on the back of the card.
3) Use the word you have learned about with the children as many times as appropriate throughout the day.