Developed by: H. Casey & M. Moore
Last revised: February 2005

Return to: | Character Education | Moral and Character Development |


Cooperation is defined as teamwork, the common effort of a group for their mutual benefit, and working together peacefully ( Cooperation can also be defined as being able to balance your needs with someone else’s needs. Cooperation is a joint effort or a give and take that is mutually satisfying. In order to develop a cooperative attitude in children, we need to get them to understand that certain rules and requests benefit everyone ( Jewett (2004) claims that cooperation is a critical feature in a child’s domain. Cooperation emerges from a strong developmental push to initiate and maintain relationships with other children. This begins at a very early age. These peer relationships allow for critical opportunities in which children can learn to manage conflict. The Josephson Institute (2004) also identifies cooperation as an important attribute and includes indicators of cooperation in five of the six pillars identified as the major components of moral character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

There are a variety of contexts within which students can show cooperation. For example, they can work with other students as partners, in small groups, or as a team to complete a task or reach a specific goal they are expressing cooperation in a social context. They can also take part in a variety of school committees or clubs. Some specific behaviors that may be used as indicators of cooperation include:

  • listening to others,

  • open to others ideas, 

  • taking turns doing things,

  • showing respect to peers,

  • including everyone in activities,

  • sharing toys or materials with others,

  • taking responsible for doing their part,

  • making others feel needed,

  • discussing ideas in a calm voice,

  • willing to accept differences in opinion,

  • agreeing to disagree and is flexible with it,

  • compromising when there is a disagreement about what to do,

  • showing appreciation for others' efforts and accomplishments, and

  • being a leader as well as a follower.


Pre-K and Kindergarten Elementary Middle Grades High School and Adult