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.
I stumbled upon this video for a clever DIY teaching resource that can be made and used by both teachers and parents to expand vocabulary and improve spelling and literacy in children. What I really love about it is that with the use of pegs, children are not only flexing their mind muscles but also building coordination and strengthening the fine muscles in their hands that are used for writing.
Today I heard a beautiful story about students showing pure kindness towards a peer with disabilities and I believe that sharing it will bring as much joy to you as it did to me.
There was a student at a high school level who was not only having a rough home life but also had autism. Despite his hardships, he came to school every day with a huge smile on his face and did his best to try to impress his teachers.
I'm so happy to see more schools adopting kindness as their overarching value for teaching character and fostering a peaceful school culture. I always say it's the foundation for all other values and something that should be taught in every home and school for optimum well-being and importantly, to prevent anti-social behaviour.
Recently, I've been fortunate to connect with several amazing ladies who have started Kindness Clubs! Yep, there are actually clubs dedicated to this good old fashioned value and they're doing a lot more than just teaching kids to be kind!!
Ho, ho, ho!! It's almost Christmas!!
Many of us are in denial that the festive season has arrived again SO SOON!! I'm pretty sure science hasn't proven it but I'm convinced that time goes faster the older we get!
Though parents and teachers are usually pretty busy at the end of the year, it's actually a great time to get your kids involved in doing good. Encouraging kindness should, of course, be a year round endeavour because it's shown that after the fourth grade, positive perceptions of kindness decrease in children.
Because we know you've got other things on your mind right now, we've put together a kindness advent calendar to help you nurture the positive values we all want our kids to adopt.
The hard work has been done and all you have to do is inspire your kids to participate!
Can kindness be taught?
While researching for our school curriculum many years ago, I came across the work of Maurice J. Elias, a Professor of Psychology. His view about kindness being a teachable quality mirrors my own and like me, he's a huge advocate for teaching it in schools.
Like me, he believes that children have an emotional response to kindness but that emotionally intelligent kids have a better understanding of the feelings they're experiencing.
"Kindness depends also on possessing certain learnable skills, and these are included in most evidence-based efforts to promote children's social-emotional and character development."
- Maurice Elias
Most children enjoy being creative with pencils and crayons. But did you know there are an impressive number of reasons why both kids and adults should partake in this peaceful pastime?
The significant benefits of coloring are now being realised for all age groups as it takes its place alongside yoga and meditation as an enjoyable way of improving mental and physical well-being.
Our elementary school serves approximately 800 students PreK-3rd grades.
The week of February 11th, 2018 happened to be “Random Acts of Kindness Week” so I challenged the staff to a Kindness Challenge — I challenged them to complete these simple, kind acts that would make our students’ and colleagues’ days just a bit brighter!
Complete a challenge – mark it off on the challenge sheet
Each challenge completed earned a TICKET in the raffle
Earn an EXTRA TICKET for each challenge that is completed and shared on social media with the challenge hashtag
The WINNER of the raffle… earned a HALF DAY OFF!
This is a powerful activity to use in the classroom at any time a student is in need of some extra love and care or as a focus activity during International Day of Friendship. It’s one we’ve included in the Ripple Kindness Project for Schools primary and elementary curriculum as it can have such an incredibly positive impact on children who are being acknowledged and complimented. read more →
I received many sweet and wonderful notes from my students. I still do on FB, even though I’m retired. read more →
It’s unknown who originally told this powerful story but it has been replicated over the years and there are now quite a few versions to be found on the net. Regardless of the variations, the story shares a powerful and motivational message. We enjoyed this video by Meir Kay and hope you share it with the significant people in your life. read more →
These funky little relaxation jars are so easy to make and are wonderful visual aid for helping kids calm themselves when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
They’re a popular aid for parents but we also encourage teachers to use them in the classroom and have included the instructions in our primary/elementary school curriculum. read more →