A Kindness Tree is a creative and beautiful way to encourage and acknowledge acts of kindness within a school. As a whole school project, it's a heartwarming way to help foster kind, supportive relationships amongst students and teachers. Watching the tree come to life as good deeds are added creates positive and uplifting feelings and behaviour, making it a highly effective way to build character and reduce bullying.
As you'll see by the examples below there are many variations, some big, some small, but each one beautiful and unique. There are no rules when it comes to creating your kindness tree. Use your imagination and encourage student involvement. For the tree itself, you can use paper, fabric, paint, crepe paper or real tree branches. Tree leaves upon which kind deeds are written can be made from paper or card in the shape of leaves, hearts or even hands.
Trees in the United States
"Kindness trees have bloomed at Goodnoe! Each hand represents our commitment to spread kindness throughout the school!"
- Michael Catalano, Goodnoe Elementary, Newtown, Pennsylvania, United States
This amazing kindness tree can be found as you enter the doors at Wilson Elementary. The staff and children are all contributing to it as it winds its way through the entryway.
They even have a nook where kids can snap a photo and change the text on the board to suit themselves... "my big dream is", "when I grow up".
- Wilson Elementary, Spokane, Washington, United States
"The week of February 11th happened to be “Random Acts of Kindness Week” so I challenged the staff to a Kindness Challenge — I challenged them to complete some simple, kind acts that would make our students’ and colleagues’ days just a bit brighter! To go along with this kindness challenge, I was Inspired by Bethany Hill (see her tree below) and we added a school Kindness Tree to our main hallway and challenged our STUDENTS to brainstorm ways they can be kind friends & spread kindness."
- Melissa Kartsimas, JFK Elementary, Schiller Park, Illinois, United States
"We have a tree that changes seasonally. All kids contribute to it. This one was for kindness. Staff and kids brag on others for acts of kindness."
- Bethany Hill, Central Elementary, Cabot, Arkansas, United States
Barbara Gruener saw kindness is in full bloom when she visited a National School of Character in Houston, Texas. Hearts are added to this beautiful display every time someone catches a kind act making their school a better place.
Barbara also spied this kindness crayons display and couldn't resist snapping a pic!
- John Ward Elementary, Houston, Texas, United States
Celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week from Feb. 12-16, 2018 this massive tree bloomed from students sharing kindness throughout the school. “So many are stuck in their math and English scores, we aim to help students get high character,”
- Dr. Robert Anderson, Gowanda Elementary School, New York, United States
Submitted by Lisa Ray Barrickman
"My son’s basketball games are at a school that just completed a kindness challenge. It has been awesome to see their kindness tree grow each week with all the goodness the students have witnessed.
And today this incredible paper chain was hanging in the lobby!! The kids wrote their acts of kindness on links during the initiative. So cool to see the beauty they created together."
- Chadds Ford Elementary School, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, United States
Barbara Hinsz shared that "staff and students "planted" a kindness tree where everyone is invited to share the good deeds they have done or the good things that others have done for them. Every day more hearts show up around the tree and everyday everyone gets to see how kindness makes a difference."
- Mesabi East School, Aurora, Minnesota, United States
"Students August and Jonas along with third-grade teacher Taylor Wherrel show how much the school’s kindness tree is growing."
- White Oaks Elementary School, Burke, Virginia, United States
Kindness tree submitted by Maureen.
- Irving Elementary, Bloomington, Illinois, United States
"The students and staff have been challenged to show kindness in every way possible. Whether in the classroom, hallway, cafeteria or on the playground, kindness is always appreciated. Students are recognized for displaying acts of kindness and are given a leaf to add to their Kindness Tree."
- Central Elementary School, Van Buren, Arkansas, United States
- Mount Holly Township Public Schools, Mount Holly, New Jersey, United States
A kindness tree in the cafeteria is part of the Kindness Starts with Me program. Students fill out smile cards, color-coded by class, to acknowledge each other for the kind things they've done which are then attached to the kindness tree.
- Alta Vista Elementary School, Sarasota, Florida, United States
A "crazy" Kindness Tree created by an art teacher. It even features bugs and Disney characters!
- Christ the King Catholic School, Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Character development is an important part of the school climate. Students receive “kindness leaves” to place on their Kindness Tree for acts of service, compassion and cooperation.
- Evergreen Country Day School, Evergreen, Colorado, United States
The main hallway is painted with a huge Tree of Kindness that is adorned with leaves given and received by students and staff. Names are added to leaves, which are then placed on the trees to acknowledge those who have shown kindness towards others. Signs located throughout the school ask questions like: Did You Take Time to Be Kind Today? How Do You Take Time to Be Kind? and Taking Time to Be Kind Feels Good!
- Greenbrier Elementary School, Greenville, South Carolina, United States
During Valentine’s week, students celebrated "Random Acts of Kindness Week. Each day students dressed up and participated in kindness activities. Messages on how to express kindness were read during the morning announcements, students filled out "compliment hearts" which were placed under the "Tree of Kindness" and students were encouraged to use kind words and make a new friend.
- Pasodale Elementary, El Paso, Texas, United States
To celebrate Random Acts of Kindness week, students were encouraged to "pay it forward" and document acts of kindness on a tree. “We try to get the children to understand that doing something kind for others, you don’t necessarily need a reward or expect an award back from it. When you do something nice, it’s like a trickle effect. When someone does something nice for you, they want to do something nice for someone else. I always tell them kindness is free, you don’t have to have money to give it to someone.”
- Christa Jeter, Doby's Mill Elementary, Lugoff, South Carolina, United States
When students are caught in an act of kindness, they are presented with a Kindness Heart to pin on their Kindness Tree.
- Clark Fork School, Missoula, Montana, United States
"I saw Isaac give his chair to Ariel in music. We did community of kindness leafs. These leafs we will put on are community of kindness tree. It will be fun. We write something nice about someone on a leaf.everyone is nice in are class. Everyone is complimenting someone in our class." - Moe
- Martin J. Gottlieb Day School, Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Fourth graders added a colorful rainbow and flowers around their kindness tree to enhance their hallway.
- Virtual School House, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Students created a kindness tree in their gym. They feel it is an important part of their school because it reinforces their Code of Conduct by being kind.
- Upper Greenwood Lake School, West Milford, New Jersey, United States
This Kindness Tree is a staple fixture in the entryway at the school. Students can both give and receive kindness leaves that acknowledge a helpful or inclusive act. Leaves are then displayed on the tree. Fifth-grade student council members said the kindness tree had been ongoing part of their school community since they were in Kindergarten.
- Memorial Spaulding Elementary School, Newton Centre, Massachusetts, United States
"Vernon’s Kindness Tree is a new addition to a wall in the cafeteria. It was painted this winter by Ms. Crowley and Ms. Rogus to help spread kindness throughout the school community."
“I’m bursting with pride over the kind hearts of the students and how they have taken the initiative to help others.”, said Ms. Rogus about her students. “I’m so happy that Vernon’s Kindness Tree is inspiring students to spread good in the world.”
- James H. Vernon School, East Norwich, New York, United States
"At our most recent Unschoolers Waterpark Gathering (UWG), we had a Kindness Tree. It was a joy to see this tree leaf out and fill with love throughout the week.
The tree was made from pipes and duct tape and clothespins.
Over 100 leaves of wisdom were written for our kindness tree."
- Dr. Jessie Voigts, Wandering Educators
Trees in Australia
"This a photo of my 1B student's Kindness Tree. They receive a leaf after they have done something kind. We are enjoying learning about kindness this year and have been doing daily individual, weekly whole class and big end of term acts of kindness. Some of our end of term acts of kindness include Easter colouring books for the pediatric ward at the Cairns Base Hospital, gratitude cards for the ANZAC veterans attached to our local RSL and 'Worth it' boxes for all the teachers in our school (40 teachers).
We can't wait to see how big our tree will be at the end of the year!"
- Felice, Hambledon State School, Edmonton, Queensland, Australia
The kindness tree was placed in the school foyer during mental health week. Students were invited to extend a ‘helping hand’ to those in the school community who would appreciate a small act of kindness.
- Loreto Normanhurst, Normanhurst, New South Wales, Australia
"To coincide with World Kindness Day (November 13) HPS has an annual Wellbeing Week. During this week students are involved in a variety of activities which promote many areas of health and well-being, including Mental, Social, Physical and Emotional aspects of their well-being.
Some activities that students Prep – Grade 6 have participated in include; making a ‘Worry Box’ so that students can write their worries on pieces of paper and place them in the box for safe keeping (in essence ‘letting go’ of their worries and not having to carry them around) and the construction of a Kindness Tree. On World Kindness Day, every student in the school participated in the Kindness Leaf Activity. This required the students to write or draw what kindness meant to them on a paper leaf to be joined together to make a Kindness Tree."
- Heidelberg Primary School, Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia
The Kindness Tree reminds us to be kind to ourselves and to others.
- Fig Pocket State School, Fig Tree Pocket, Queensland, Australia
Trees in Canada
Each secondary student picked a name from their peers and wrote one nice thing about him or her on the pink and red hearts. Primary students did the same about their peers. The white hearts show a goal for each student, whether short or long term. Both secondary and primary students did this activity.
The students were very interested to see what others wrote about them.
- Mecatina School, Quebec, Canada
Students performed 2052 acts of kindness in 21 days.
- W.J. Watson Public School, Keswick, Canada
Staff and students give each other a 'character heart' for acts of kindness which are then attached to the their kindness tree.
- Carleton Heights Public School, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
This Kindness Tree in the front school foyer was created to showcase good deeds during Random Acts of Kindness Week.
Some examples of the kindness shown throughout the week, and pretty regularly each school day include:
• Helping a little guy with his broken zipper EACH day.
• Sharing a cup-cookie (a hybrid between a cookie and a cupcake) just because.
• The parent volunteer who used to be a champion table tennis player, and who now comes teach this game to some of our kids twice per week.
• Holding hands with your friend outside, and attaching your pocket hooks together.
• Sharing your snack with your friends.
• Bringing in your buddy when she has a scraped knee.
• Helping someone tie their shoe.
• Bringing in some special heart shaped donuts from Tim Hortons for a deserving staff.
- Thompson Elementary School, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
Tree in Thailand
Students value compassion and service. Their aim is to cultivate genuine happiness and commit to treating others and the planet with respect, kindness and consideration, helping even in the smallest of ways. The Kindness Tree in the school's entrance symbolises service, compassion and kindness.
- Phuket International Academy, Phuket, Thailand
Tree in Ireland
‘Acts of Kindness make me grow.’
"Despite the very cold weather around at the moment our kindness tree is blooming. This is because our tree grows ever so slightly every time someone does something kind here in Aughacasla National School. It is great to see everyone getting on so well with each other. The way the children are in Aughacasla the tree will be in full blossom in no time."
- Aughacasla National School, Ireland
Kindness Trees are a beautiful way of nurturing a caring culture within schools and is something we encourage as part of our whole school kindness curriculum.
Last updated on 20 February, 2019
AUTHOR: Lisa Currie - Ripple Kindness Project
Lisa is the founder of Ripple Kindness Project, a community and outreach program, and primary/elementary school curriculum. Passionate about improving well-being and reducing bullying, RIpple developed a whole school, evidence-based SEL, kindness and mindfulness curriculum to build character and emotional intelligence to nurture positive, happy and safe school communities.