I am crazy about kindness. Sharing it, spreading it, promoting it, talking about it, practicing it, blogging about it, teaching it, quoting it, buying t-shirts about it… crazy. about. kindness.

I am SO crazy about it that I felt the need to come up with a unique way to share this passion with my students and to practice kindness in a way that they would remember forever. I wanted to not only read cutesy little books about being kind (even though one of my favourite books is “What Does it Mean to Be Kind”) or practice kindness within the fours walls of our classroom (our number one rule in the class is “Be Kind”) or watch videos about examples of kindness (even though I always love me a good ugly cry kindness story on Ellen…). I wanted to LIVE kindness in our community. I wanted people to think about kindness and associate it with my kiddos and be hopeful that a bunch of 4, 5 and 6-year-olds could change the world. I wanted my learners to know that there are some lessons that aren’t in the curriculum but that will be important to them for the rest of their lives. From that place, Kindness Capes (#kindnesscapes) was born. read more →

In the span of about 20 minutes I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to see almost every student enter the building. Some are dropped off by their parents. Others ride their bikes to school. But most of our students take the bus to school each morning.

I try to give as many students as possible a high five, a handshake or a hug. It is without a doubt one of the best parts of my school day. And while I look forward to seeing each and every child that enters the building, there are three girls that just always seem to make my day.

Invariably, one of them will see me first. Once she does, she comes to me. Arms wide open. Preparing for the biggest hug. The next girl latches on. Then another. Until some days we have what I like to call a three-person-hug. read more →

I remember walking into my bedroom one day after school to discover a brand new pair of aqua coloured jeans on my bed. I was so excited and grateful for those jeans as I had recently admired them in a shop but would never have asked my mum if I could have them. They were the latest trend and I knew we couldn’t afford them, but here they were, on my bed!

I almost knocked my mother over as I ran into her arms. I knew what sort of sacrifice she would have made to get them for me, so these were a very special gift that left a warm, vivid memory.

This is the sort of gratitude I hope my children feel when they are lucky enough to get something they’ve been wishing for. But it’s not just things I want them to appreciate, but their circumstances, their happiness, their friendships and all the ordinary things that surround them every day.

In a world where most children have all they could ever need, it can be difficult to teach them to be grateful. So how do you go about instilling a value that seems almost lost in our world of plenty?

Why Is Gratitude Important

Christine Carter is a sociologist from Greater Good Science Centre and a huge advocate for teaching gratitude. She shares some wisdom on why gratitude is important and how to help parents and teachers foster an attitude of gratitude.

We Are All Teachers

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You’ve heard the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. When it comes to their education, the same principle should be applied in the form of a positive and proactive partnership between teachers, student and parents.

I’m a huge advocate for clear, open communication between all parties to avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary stress. Good relationships between teachers and parents should be a priority to ensure the best outcome for children.

There are a number of simple things that parents and teachers can do to support one another.

Teachers supporting parents:

Keep parents up to date

Parents who confide in a teacher and don’t receive further feedback on an issue affecting their child can become frustrated and angry. If they’ve made an effort to contact the school, it means they’re genuinely concerned. They need to feel confident their child is being cared for by teachers staying contact and updating them on what’s being done.

Send home a note

Make a special effort to call or send home a note to parents of children who need extra support or are struggling to fit in. A teacher who shares a few kind words about their child’s successes or positive progress will win a parent’s heart in an instant. read more →

The most memorable act of kindness I have been involved in as a giver was around 3 years ago when I gave one of my adult students a red scarf that my mum had knitted.  I was teaching a TAFE class during winter and every Tuesday I would arrive wearing a different coloured knitted scarf. One of my students, Sylvia, a woman in her 50s, said to me at every class “I love your scarf, can I have it?” Every single lesson. Strange thing to say. At the end of the course, I decided to give her a scarf. My mum had knitted two identical red scarves for both my daughters. They didn’t wear the scarves. I wore one scarf and the other was in the cupboard unused. I asked my daughter if she minded if I gave one of the scarves away and she said “no go ahead”. read more →

The Scottish orthopedic surgeon, James Gollogly who runs the Children's Surgical Center of Cambodia.
I am going to bare a bit of my soul here when I share an experience that I believe has truly shaped who I am as a person and an educator. Although I believe I was always passionate about teaching, an experience nearly three years ago totally changed my outlook on what it means to be a teacher. On May 6th, 2011, I was almost killed in an accident while working in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Long story short, I was at an international football tournament and a bus backed into a group of players from another international school (fortunately none of the students were injured). Sensing imminent danger, I ran to the front of the bus and smacked the door to get the bus driver’s attention. read more →

Enrich lives by giving.
This is so fitting from my wonderful friend. Not only is she a wonderful women but she is also an inspiration to all.

Herself and her husband have always put others before them. They’ve dedicated their lives to helping others taking on children that had no prospects and teaching them independence and responsibility to have a successful future not only did they do this but they did it for free providing these practically homeless children a place to live on their farm. read more →