Create a culture of kindness at school to help support student’s social, emotional and academic growth. When students are in a positive, kind, encouraging environment, they are more likely to have the confidence to try new things and take academic risks. Creating a culture of kindness will make your school a better place for both students and staff.
There are many ways to create a culture of kindness. Whether you just want your kids to be a little nicer to each other, or you are creating a whole kindness week, the tips below will help get the kindness ball rolling!
Start with defining the word “kindness” with your class or group of kiddos. What does being kind mean to your students? How would someone know that you were showing them kindness? You can brainstorm with your group and come up with examples or you can do activities and play games that explicitly teach the concept of being kind and friendly.
What commitments are they going to make to each other about being kind? What are they going to do to be kind, how are they internalizing this concept? What will they do, how will it look? How are they going to help create a culture of kindness at school?
I like to make a “kindness contract”. This contract has students outline how they are going to treat each other kindly and what they are going to do to fix their own behavior if they are not meeting class kindness expectations.
Reinforce kind behavior and acts of kindness that you notice from your students. Have students point out and track acts of kindness. Create a class goal for what happens when you reach twenty acts of kindness, thirty acts of kindness, etc. How are you going to celebrate your culture of kindness?
It is also important to take time to discuss how to be kind even when it is hard or you don’t want to. Have a discussion about how much kindness could mean to someone and how kindness could turn someone’s day around. You never know what someone is going through, your kindness could mean a world of difference to them.
Take every chance you can to show ways to handle various situations in a kind manner. Modeling kindness, taking turns and respecting others will encourage kiddos to follow suit. Doing some type of class-wide kindness project can do wonders for helping kids practice kindness in the classroom. My school did this school-wide kindness project that allowed the students to help boost the morale of the teachers. It was wonderful to see how excited the students were about making the teachers so happy.
Plan For Unkind
What is the classroom plan for when someone is not being kind? How will your class handle unkindness while remaining kind and friendly themselves? Ask your group of kids for examples of times that someone was unkind to them. What do they wish that person would have kindly done instead? How would those kind actions have affected them differently?
When you create a culture of kindness at school, the payoff is worth the time invested. Students and staff will benefit greatly from the increased positive atmosphere in your school community. What might seem like a small act of kindness to you, may mean the world to someone else. You really never know what someone has going on in their life; a simple smile, wave, or helpful hand can have a profound impact on someone.
When given the chance, choose to be kind.
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