WHY SHOULD WE TEACH CHILDREN KINDNESS?
“In A World Where You Can Be Anything, BE KIND.”
When we educate children, we educate the whole child and this extends far beyond numbers and letters.
To establish a secure sense of self, we must teach children to place value on themselves and those around them through developing an understanding of kindness and love.
Children learn when given a purpose, and actively showing them that their actions create an impact is a valuable lesson in helping a child understand that they are capable of creating change through their everyday actions.
- GROUP ACTIVITY / A Kind Conversation, Daily Kindness Prompt and Kindness Tracker.
- INDIVIDUAL ACTIVITY / Kindness Tracker, Sharing Kindness, Drawing Kindness, I am Kind Self Portrait.
HOW TO TEACH KINDNESS?
“AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION ABOUT KINDNESS”
It all starts with a conversation.
What is kindness? How does kindness affect ourselves and those around us? What are some examples of kindness in our everyday lives? How do we ensure our actions are kind to others? What is the impact of kindness in our classroom/family?
Allow the space for children to explore the concept of kindness through conversation, creativity, deep thinking, along with witnessing and participating in daily acts of kindness.
“I AM KIND AND I CAN CHANGE THE WORLD”
Understanding that each of our actions has an impact on the world around us, is an important lesson in understanding that we have the ability to make changes in our world through our choices.
For this activity we explore acts of kindness and how the impact they have created.
“AN ACT OF KINDNESS FOR YOURSELF”
To understand kindness, we must first experience kindness for ourselves and know what it feels like to be treated kindly.
We ask children to complete an act of kindness towards themselves. This act of kindness can be any act of choice that makes a child feel valued, happy and safe.
“ SHOW KINDNESS IN YOUR OWN WAY TODAY”
We extend kindness out to the world around us in this activity and ask children to express and show kindness in any way the feel comfortable.
They may choose to say a kind word to someone new, share an interesting leaf they found in the garden with a friend, help a family member at home, give their pet a cuddle or draw a picture.
Kindness can be shown in any way, shape or form and should be up to the child to choose how they want to express kindness.
“ACKNOWLEDGE AN ACT OF KINDNESS YOU’VE NOTICED THIS WEEK”
This is an important discussion, where we give children the opportunity to share examples of kindness that they have observed or learnt this week.
It’s a great way to assist children to recognise acts of kindness or show all of the wonderful ways we can be kind in our everyday lives.
BEING INCLUSIVE IS KIND!
When I was researching current classroom activities on kindness for this activity, I began reading through several other kindness themed prompts and activities online. I found myself with knots in my stomach as I read so many common prompts for children to be kind and if I’m honest, very few were inclusive of all childrens needs.
Whilst simple tasks such as ‘talk to someone new’ or ‘give someone a hug’ may be set with good intentions, for a child with additional needs these tasks may be impossible or force them to participate in a way that makes them feel unsafe or uncomfortable.
Sadly, most of these tasks offered a fun reward for children who completed them, leaving children who are not able to participate due to their needs, unable to receive rewards like their peers.
In our activity, I have added my own inclusive prompts and I also encourage you to give each child the opportunity to participate in a way that makes them feel comfortable, valued and safe. Even just being present in the room while you are discussing kindness is a valuable contribution worthy of recognition.
Rewards are fun, so please make sure that a reward is given to the whole class for learning about kindness. Not just a select few who have completed the activities.
Remember, there is no wrong way to be kind!
I’ve also made versions of worksheets and classroom charts that are blank so you can fill these in to include all of your little friends.