Character Education

The Giraffe Heroes Program is a comprehensive character education curriculum that assumes that within every human being there’s a brave, caring person who can emerge and move into compassionate action. Students respond strongly to this assumption, which manifests in the Program’s tone, language and graphics. Because it gives them the stories of real heroes, the Program gets in under kids’ anti-message radar, reaching them even when more didactic approaches fail.

The Program —

  • fosters important elements of character, including caring, courage, taking responsibility and good citizenship.
  • teaches students to differentiate between real heroes and celebrities.
  • provides opportunities to learn and practice academic skills, especially in language arts, social studies, civics and visual arts.
  • combines character education with service learning. Students put their ideals into action by planning and carrying out a service project that meets a need they care about. In doing so, they move into the experiences and memories that are the substance of real knowledge and understanding.
  • promotes active citizenship. Students brainstorm, discuss, resolve conflicts, work in teams, take responsibility and build consensus. Through their service project they become stakeholders in their community; they learn to care about what happens there.
  • provides important prevention tools, helping students build confidence, communication skills, and the capacity for taking responsibility and making independent decisions.
  • meets state/district requirements for character education and for citizenship education; supports the President’s call for civic engagement.

“This program is just a necessity for today’s child who has a lack of role models, often in the house, definitely in the media and in society. It’s giving a child hope where many have a sense of hopelessness at such a young age.”—Florine Fosnick, 2nd grade teacher, Beverly Park-Highline School, Seattle WA

“In Michigan we are mandated to teach core democratic values like life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the common good. When I saw The Giraffe Heroes Program I knew I'd found the materials to address these values.”—Sharon Feldman, 3rd grade teacher, Rochester Hills MI

“The Giraffe Heroes Program stands alone among character education curriculums. Its simple theme of sticking one’s neck out for others provides an effective vehicle for linking school and community and promoting the acquisition of basic virtues including caring, courage and social responsibility. This unifying theme is presented in a motivating and developmentally appropriate manner which utilizes direct instruction and active student participation.”—Dr. Gordon Vessels, school psychologist, Atlanta, Georgia

“The ultimate character education.”—Education Week



iutucoverIn classrooms since 1991,
we’ve had plenty of time to
test our ways of teaching
character and service.
As technology changes,
we’re converting our
proven content into
digital forms. Now,
the first downloadable
program is ready for you—
It’s Up to Us, for teens.
And it's free! 
Take a look!.

Are Your Kids Giraffed?

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Stay Informed & Inspired

From time to time, Ann Medlock, this Project's founder, does a brief but inspiring email called Heads Up. You can check out past copies here. They're so good (and so free) we bet you'll join the Heads Up circle and send them on to friends & family.

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The Giraffe Heroes Kit

We now offer you a tool kit you can use to train tomorrow's heroes, in class or after school. (Full info)



Grades K-2 Guide

Stan Tall & Bea Tall, our twin spokesgiraffes 
for the K-2 Giraffe Heroes Program 
have some bad news and some good news. 
First—the K-2 is no longer for sale in print. 
And here’s the good news—
The entire K-2 program will soon be a free download!
Lesson plans, videos, audio tracks, dozens of stories, 
printable handouts, correlations, & links to resources—
it will all be in a free download to your computer.
We’re working as fast as we can to complete the conversion.
If you’d like to be notified when it goes online,
email us, we’ll make sure you get the word.

Grades 3-5 Guide

Out of print

Grades 6-9 Guide

The Giraffe Heroes Program
for your 6-9 students

Voices of Hope

Service-Learning Guide


Student Anthology