A World Without Racism is Kind
Kindness In Schools
In school, we are often taught the six pillars of character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. If there was any single word to encompass all these pillars, it would be kindness.
Exercising kindness during our formative years can cultivate lifelong, positive behaviors. For this reason, teaching kindness in schools is extremely important. According to edutopia.org, John C. Haines Elementary School in Chicago uses a system of jars and instructs students to place a pom-pom in the jar if they perform a small act of kindness. Once students in a classroom fill a jar, they are rewarded with a special treat or a party (https://www.edutopia.org/article/simple-ways-encourage-kindness-students-all-ages). Presenting acts of kindness in such a visual way allows younger children to better see a reward for their cumulative actions.
The value of teaching kindness in schools has also generated interest from organizations looking to further promote kindness in schools. The organization Action for Happiness is behind a program that aims to encourage kind behavior in all classrooms. To celebrate World Kindness Day, on November 13th, Action for Happiness aims to help teachers create Kindness Projects. These projects follow a three-stage outline: Do, Notice, and Share. First, kindness projects involve teaching kindness through doing. Next, students are asked to notice acts of kindness done around them. By noticing kind acts happening in an environment, students will be encouraged to perform kind acts. The last stage involves sharing kindness, where teachers are encouraged to share plans with colleagues and results on social media. Overall, significant efforts are being made by organizations to promote kindness in schools. (https://www.actionforhappiness.org/kindness-project-in-schools).
A major component in promoting kindness in schools is modeling kindness. Teachers can interact with all other staff in kind ways, such as daily greetings and introducing other staff to students in front of their students to demonstrate kindness. Over time, students will learn from viewing this behavior and practice it themselves. Pbs.org discusses this, among other ways to teach kindness, a significant way is to teach empathy alongside kindness. Teaching young students to understand what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes can establish a solid foundation for kindness and compassion. (https://www.pbs.org/education/blog/9-tips-for-teaching-kindness-in-the-classroom).
Teaching kindness in schools, especially with younger children, can help students build important emotional skills. Over time, by teaching kindness, the classroom will become kinder, then the school, and eventually the world. Always remember to be kind!