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This blog has be written by one of the most kindhearted people we have connected with over on Instagram, Cath from @cathwilliams05. A cheerleader for all, her passion for supporting others is evident in her every action. So who better to ask about kindness in the classroom than her?! If you are looking for ways to build a community of kindness in your classroom and school then look no further...
Kindness seems to be one of the latest buzz words in Education but it shouldn’t be treated lightly or as a trend. In this busy & disconnected world we need more than ever to develop a positive & caring culture. Before we can focus on the academics, positive relationships need to be established between each other so we become kind, empathetic, members of our community who strive to make our world a better place for everyone.
Children learn to be kind & empathetic when they experience kindness and are involved in opportunities to show kindness to others so it becomes a natural part of daily life. After becoming connected with a few teachers through social media, I was inspired by the way they incorporated kindness into their classroom environment, school and community.
Kindness in the classroom
When I had a 2nd Grade class, one of our class novels was WONDER. Each child had a large poster of a blank Auggie, like on the cover of the book. To practise looking for the positive in others, each day a child was randomly selected & everyone was given a post it note to write a positive comment about that child to place on the poster. We displayed our posters outside our classroom to share with our school community for the week before they took them home.
We created our own class kindness challenge. After discussions as a class, each child selected a daily challenge and we put it together to create a kindness month.
For example; Notes & cards of thanks, sitting with someone different at lunchtime, letting others go ahead of you, sharing your belongings to inviting others into your games. We also included our local community by collecting donations for Angels for the Forgotten, a charity for homeless in our area and collected donations for the playroom at children’s ward at the hospital. We painted kindness rocks with affirmations & messages of encouragement & the children delivered these to place in their own neighbourhood.
Taking a 1st grade class each week, we were inspired by @joysofkinder to be Kindness Ninjas, taking a pledge to spread kindness. We had to use our Ninja stealth and wore red head bands to hide positive affirmation book marks into books in the school library, deliver handmade gratitude cards to all the staff and writing positive comments for our classmates.
I wanted to create an improvement in our school environment.
One of my supervision duties was to be at the front gate before school where children were dropped off by car. I had been reading a few books about showing up for children, building a positive culture and I was really inspired by Jay Billy who is an elementary principal in New Jersey and the author of Lead with Culture. Jay described how he would often get dressed up in different suits and hats and play music to greet the children and build positivity.
One morning I started to play some music to welcome the children as they came into school. Next thing I included dressing up, motivation messages & Welcome to Wednesday with Mrs W grew. Each Wednesday I dressed up as something beginning with W. When my duty days were changed I had a Thankful Thursday & Fun Friday.
Examples of random acts of kindness for school staff included little pot of colour flowers, encourage ‘mint’ chocolates & beginning of school year welcome notes with sheets of stickers.
Other ways to promote a positive culture around the school was to display kindness quotes in hallways & in the classroom. With staff input, positive affirmations were displayed in ladies staff bathroom & student input was given for quotes in each of boys & girls toilets.
There are many wonderful resources available to give you ideas and support whether it be challenges or specific activities to incorporate kindness into your classroom so it helps to build positive character skills & becomes a natural part of your everyday.
Thinking about doing some lessons on kindness in your classroom? Make sure you check out our Rainbow Kindness Activities.
This resource includes:
Laurie McIntosh & Mrs Macs Kinders
The Kind Club https://www.instagram.com/the_kind_club/?hl=en
Morgane Michael Twitter @SABI21days,
Joys of Kinder & Kindness Ninjas https://twitter.com/MrsApelsKinder
Ripple Kindness https://ripplekindness.org/