The Living Values Education Approach

After ten years of implementing Living Values Education, a team of LVE leaders around the world gathered together to describe what they felt LVE was - and had become.

Vision Statement

Living Values Education is a way of conceptualizing education that promotes the development of values-based learning communities and places the search for meaning and purpose at the heart of education. LVE emphasizes the worth and integrity of each person involved in the provision of education, in the home, school and community. In fostering quality education, LVE supports the overall development of the individual and a culture of positive values in each society and throughout the world, believing that education is a purposeful activity designed to help humanity flourish.

Core Principles

Living Values Education is based on the following core principles:

On the learning and teaching environment

  1. When positive values and the search for meaning and purpose are placed at the heart of learning and teaching, education itself is valued.

  2. Learning is especially enhanced when occurring within a values-based learning community, where values are imparted through quality teaching, and learners discern the consequences, for themselves, others and the world at large, of actions that are and are not based on values.

  3. In making a values-based learning environment possible, educators not only require appropriate quality teacher education and ongoing professional development, they also need to be valued, nurtured and cared for within the learning community.

  4. Within the values-based learning community, positive relationships develop out of the care that all involved have for each other.

On the teaching of values

  1. The development of a values-based learning environment is an integral part of values education, not an optional extra.

  2. Values education is not only a subject on the curriculum. Primarily it is pedagogy; an educational philosophy and practice that inspires and develops positive values in the classroom. Values-based teaching and guided reflection support the process of learning as a meaning-making process, contributing to the development of critical thinking, imagination, understanding, self-awareness, intrapersonal and interpersonal skills and consideration of others.

  3. Effective values educators are aware of their own thoughts, feelings, attitudes and behaviour and sensitive to the impact these have on others.

  4. A first step in values education is for teachers to develop a clear and accurate perception of their own attitudes, behaviour and emotional literacy as an aid to living their own values. They may then help themselves and encourage others to draw on the best of their own personal, cultural and social qualities, heritage and traditions.

On the nature of persons within the world and the discourse of education

  1. Central to the Living Values Education concept of education is a view of persons as thinking, feeling, valuing whole human beings, culturally diverse and yet belonging to one world family. Education must therefore concern itself with the intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being of the individual.

  2. The discourse of education, of thinking, feeling and valuing, is both analytic and poetic. Establishing a dialogue about values within the context of a values-based learning community facilitates an interpersonal, cross-cultural exchange on the importance and means of imparting values in education.


The development and advancement of Living Values Education is overseen by the Association for Living Values Education International (ALIVE), a non-profit-making association of organizations around the world concerned with values education. ALIVE groups together national bodies promoting the use of the Living Values Education Approach and is an independent organization that does not have any particular or exclusive religious, political or national affiliation or interest. The development and implementation of Living Values Education has been supported over the years by a number of organizations, including UNESCO, governmental bodies, foundations, community groups and individuals. LVE continues to be part of the global movement for a culture of peace following the United Nations International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World.

ALIVE is registered as an association in Switzerland. In some countries national Living Values Education associations have been formed, usually comprised of educators, education officials, and representatives of organizations and agencies involved with student or parent education.


In pursuing its mission and implementing its core principles, the Association for Living Values Education International and its Associates and Focal Points for LVE provide:

  1. Professional development courses, seminars and workshops for teachers and others involved in the provision of education.

  2. Classroom teaching material and other educational resources, an award-winning series of resource books containing practical values activities and a range of methods for use by educators, facilitators, parents and caregivers to help children and young adults to explore and develop widely-shared human values. This series of books, now updated and expanded, plus Living Green Values and an additional 11 values-education resources for young people at risk, are specified in the following LVE Resource Materials section. The approach and lesson content are experiential, participatory and flexible, allowing "” and encouraging "” the materials to be adapted and supplemented according to varying cultural, social and other circumstances.

  3. Consultation to government bodies, organizations, schools, teachers and parents on the creation of values-based learning environments and the teaching of values.

  4. An extensive website,, with materials available for downloading free of charge, including books, songs, posters and a distance program for adults, families and study groups.