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 like we're making some headway with educators now using social and emotional learning programs in their classrooms to build emotional intelligence which naturally puts a stop bullying.
I've been advocating for kindness to be taught in schools for around a decade now, or more specifically, social-emotional learning (SEL). For me, it's always made sense to improve emotional literacy so students can connect with rather than fight one another. And a fun way that teachers can nurture friendships is to infect a school with kindness! Kindness will almost always have a positive effect on children who struggle with antisocial behaviour and a kind majority will eventually have an impact on bullying.
That last sentence is key for creating lasting change. I said eventually. That sounds like a long time, right! But the reality is that there is no quick fix. If we truly want to stop bullying, we need to surrender to the idea that there's no magic presentation or school assembly that will make it go away.
Think about the number of days, weeks, months, and years that may have contributed to building an antisocial personality. A lifetime of thoughts, feelings, and behavior cannot be wiped out overnight. We're in it for the long haul!
We need to infuse every child in every grade with emotional intelligence (EQ) and kindness, and we do that by practicing every... single... day! That's why we tirelessly advocate for social-emotional learning because it builds EQ and that's critical if we're going to stop bullying.
Resources that help infect students with kindness
Kindness really does have the most incredible power. Little by little, activity after activity, kindness can become a way of life. We even wrote an article to explain why kindness should be taught in schools. It will give you quite an insight into this powerful old-fashioned value, so be sure to read it!
Many thousands of children have enjoyed them in their classroom or at home because the great thing about our coloring sheets is that kids are reading positive affirmations that build character traits while participating in a mindfulness activity. And when you think of mindfulness, you think of quiet, peaceful, relaxed kids, so our coloring activities are often added to a calm down corner.
Our kindness checklists are our second most loved resource. They are an absolutely fantastic way to get a whole school to participate in a kindness challenge during Random Acts of Kindness Day (17 February) or World Kindness Day (13 November).
Children are challenged to complete 3 or more acts of kindness in each of 4 categories to reinforce kindness at school as well as outside the school gate:
There are several options for teachers to choose from and each one comes in black outlines for students to color. There is even a google slides option for students or teachers to create their own personalised checklist. The online lists also allow students to participate in a group challenge where they'll have to brainstorm kindness ideas and cooperate with one another. However you decide to be involved, we can guarantee a whole lot of positive feelings are created!
We love it when children send us photos of themselves holding their checklist to show how many acts of kindness they completed during the challenge. It's heartwarming to know that whole grades and schools are participating and that many thousand good deeds are completed at different times of the year.
Kindness trees are a fabulous way to get the whole school involved in doing good and this resource encourages the involvement of teachers and administrators. Kids absolutely love adding leaves with their act of kindness written on them and watching the tree come to life. It's like spring at any time of the year!
Bucket filling is a fun and easy to understand concept that builds character traits and emotional intelligence. Filling buckets nurtures wellbeing and positive interactions within the classroom and whole school community.
The metaphor of a bucket and dipper explains how every interaction and everything we say or do in a day either fills or empties our and other's emotional buckets. It's an effective way to improve social, emotional and mental health as well as the culture because it creates a positive and content feeling throughout your school.
If you've not heard of bucket filling, there are several books that are a must-have for any classroom.
Our kindness mission is a team building activity where students work together to take part in acts of kindness. Working in groups helps students learn cooperation and consideration as they build relationships and a growth mindset. Spreading good will throughout the school helps to nurture positive character traits and creates a sense of belonging.
Ready to print or use on google slides if you'd like to add a technology element to the lesson.
We understand just how complex it can be to create a calm, happy classroom. We have created a range of social and emotional learning, kindness and mindfulness resources to make it easy for you to improve wellbeing and relationships in your classroom.