What better way to foster kindness, build character and encourage positive school communities than awesome visuals that students see each and every day. Like anything else we want our kids to learn, positive values need to be constantly reinforced and lived every single day.
If you enjoy the feel-good emotions produced by doing good then perhaps you're the kind of person who looks forward to the official days that celebrate kindness. Did you know there are 3 of them?
Many teachers like their students to participate in kindness activities at school to celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day in February and World Kindness Day in November. They understand the importance of these days as opportunities to build character and instill good values that become the foundation of an emotional skill set that's essential for their future success. Beyond feel-good emotions or reducing bullying, kindness is a highly valued character trait.
Bullying is often a hot topic among parents and teachers. It has been for as long as I can remember and sadly, not a lot has changed. But, I feel we are starting to make some headway with educators now using social and emotional learning programs in their classrooms to build emotional intelligence.
I've been advocating for kindness to be taught in schools for around a decade now. For me, it has always made sense because kindness is the antithesis of bullying. It stands to reason that infecting a school with the kindness bug is going to have a positive effect on children who struggle with antisocial behaviour. A kind majority will eventually have an impact on an unfriendly minority.
Whether you're looking to build character at home or in the classroom, recognised kindness days are a great time to start a kindness campaign.
Kindness is a good old-fashioned value that does a lot more than just build character. Did you know that it can also:
Book Title: Ella & Mrs Gooseberry – Discovering what love looks like
Author: Vikki Conley
Illustrator: Penelope Pratley
For Ages: 4-8
Themes: love, empathy, compassion, kindness, understanding, giving, character, community
Related learning areas: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), feelings awareness, character education
There's nothing more heartwarming that good hearted kids who set examples of being kind. Our hope is that these examples of kindness from kids in different parts of the world can inspire your own children to step outside their comfort zone to make a difference.
I constantly research and try to stay in touch with what's happening in the world of kindness. During one of my web surfing sessions, I came across some advice in a school newsletter by Tanya Uren, principal at Kingston Primary School in Western Australia.
I love that she encourages her whole school community to show kindness and prompts parents to nurture it at home. I felt it is something that other schools may also like to highlight in their communication to parents so I asked Tanya if she minded me sharing her insights with you below.
There are so many wonderful people in our communities who go out of their way and even risk their lives for us every single day. Often these people go about their jobs without ever really being thanked for the extraordinary things they do.
Here are some fun ways to show community workers how much they really are appreciated or to show your support for someone who may need a little encouragement.
For Law Enforcement or Fire Fighters
Bostian Elementary in North Carolina is a school that cares about building character and empowering students with kindness and empathy. I recently connected with 4th Grade Teacher, Donna Rymer about the great work the teachers are doing to make kindness the norm in their school.
Donna explained that they saw a problem in the world with a lack of kindness contributing to sadness, and saw a need to bring happiness and compassion back. They decided they needed to start in their school and launched their kindness initiative to encourage more empathy and ensure less anti-social behaviour.
Their campaign was triggered by a conversation she had with a colleague who had been given a wristband by a kindness ambassador. They decided to invite Rebecca Sutton from The Kindness Revolution to speak to their grade 4 students. Once they heard her speak they were convinced that they needed to expand on her presentation and turn it into a full-blown PBL (Project Based Learning) to reach the whole school and community.
Donna was keen to share how staff and students have worked to promote kindness in the hopes that it will inspire other teachers to also start a kindness initiative at their school.
Experts advocate for teaching kindness and empathy in schools to reduce bullying. Why? Because kindness is the antithesis of bullying and empathy is the foundation of kindness.
Being kind means that you consider the needs, feelings and concerns of others to ensure you act appropriately. Having empathy means you're able to put yourself in someone's shoes to understand their needs, feelings and concerns.
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.
Stories of Kindness
- 27 Feb 2020I’d rather be swindled by someone that doesn’t need it than to pass by someone that does.
- 19 Feb 2020Food stamps over junk food
- 12 Feb 2020Our plans of helping a family went to hell
- 06 Feb 202030 Easy Acts of Kindness for Teaching Your Kids to Make the World Better
- 05 Feb 2020This teacher saves kids who are struggling to connect