Don’t stop there! Former Head of School at New City School in St. Louis, Missouri, Tom Hoerr suggests that once your child is four or five years of age, you may want to create a family “kindness chart” on which everyone’s reflections are entered each night. When these needs are met, students can better focus on learning and are more likely to engage in critical thinking, express creativity, collaborate, communicate effectively, and persevere through challenges -- essential skills our youth require. According to neuroscientist and educator, Dr. Judy Willis: A group of PBS Digital Innovators collaborated to share their tips for teaching kindness in the classroom. Maurice Elias, director of the Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab, recommends that you provide your child with opportunities to be helpful around the house in order to teach kindness. I reflected  my students’ diversity by choosing readers with accents that some students may have not heard before. Another way to show your child the value of kindness is to bring him along when you’re taking a meal to a noncontagious sick relative or neighbor, or let her help you get a bag of clothes or canned goods together for a local clothing or food drive. Have your class choose a need from their list, and guide them through process of making a difference. By putting themselves in the story vs. just asking how do you think the character feels, creates stronger connection and context. While you are doing this, explain that sometimes people just need a little extra help and that being kind can make a big difference in the lives of others in need. In early January 2019, her second book, Take the L.E.A.P., Ignite a Culture of Innovation will be released. Ashley Judd is a 4th Grade Teacher at Tyner Elementary in Tyner, KY.  She specializes in elementary education and incorporating innovative classroom practices, aimed at amplifying student growth. When one act of kindness is conducted between classmates, the recipient(s) of the act  pass on a new act of kindness to another classmate until the entire classroom family has experienced at least one act of kindness that was bestowed upon them at closing circle (yep, like morning circle but at the end of the day). It is important to understand that the benefits of the Kindness … Increased Feelings of Gratitude. Use the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education to learn more about issues in the field and to better understand research related to early childhood teacher education. No matter which way you teach kindness, the world will always be a better place because of it. The first step in kindness for a young child … When children are kind and compassionate, they are more tolerant and more aware of the suffering of others, and they are better able to rejoice in other people’s successes. Invite students to perform Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs) for others. The first step in kindness for a young child is helping. Elias says that these are actions that bring about strong positive feelings in young children (and older ones, when they are not being “ordered” to help), which can result in their wanting to volunteer to help others -- a strong example of kindness in action. Kindness in the classroom is linked to a strong sense of belonging and increased  self-esteem as acceptance for peers develops. A high-quality early childhood education is based on a sound understanding of how young children learn – through engaging, hands-on experiences within a setting of comfort and trust. This can start by simply discussing needs and generating ways to meet those needs. Each day, for two weeks, I read one of the books followed by a class meeting to discuss the book and how we can use the lesson to show kindness or friendship to others. Our students look to us as models for what’s expected, and if we are treating others kindly, they will follow suit. Why? I have hard copies of each book and students are able to access the read alouds through QR code links in the center. While you are teaching your students to empathize, you are simultaneously exercising their creativity and critical thinking skills in the process. What would they want/need in the moment? Books about kindness are so powerful for children. In my experience, morning meetings support the culture of learning by setting the tone for the day and by allowing us to get to know one another differently than when we engage in collaborative class work. If we mold our Kindergarteners into “do-ers,” they will eventually morph into middle and high school students who are collaborators, initiators, and critical thinkers. While state laws, districts and campuses mandate what teachers teach, it’s the choice to teach kindness in the classroom that is truly making a difference for our students today and for their futures. We talked about what kindness looks like  in a classroom. What will you do today to foster a community built on kindness, empathy and authentic connections? To read the original … You may also want to ask how it made them feel when someone helped, and when they helped others, although you may not get real answers until your child is older. A friendship or kindness center has the potential to empower learners to explore different aspects of friendship. ​Elisabeth Bostwick, Michelle Garmon, Julie Hildebrand, Ashley Judd and Mallory Mbalia You might have spent your childhood listening to a parent or other adult in your life remind you to mind your manners and speak kindly. Have a class discussion about how they would feel if they were the character. In lieu of the need for teaching materials that foster kindness and compassion, teacher authors from around the globe have come together to offer FREE classroom materials for teachers. As a preschool teacher, I can tell you that some concepts are really hard to teach, … Learning how to teach kindness in the classroom is one of our most important jobs as teachers. After Rousseau, we believe that an education in kindness is essential in early childhood (Emile, 1762). From the moment our toddlers start their school year, we are working on teaching them how to care for others. Michelle Garmon is a First Grade Teacher and PBS Digital Innovator All-Star from Rio Rancho, New Mexico. As relationships form, trust develops, which allows  a culture of learning to blossom where all individuals feel genuinely valued -- for who they are and what they contribute as a unique individual. The list of ways to promote kindness during this week is endless. In addition to being a Heart of Texas Writing Project Teacher Consultant, Julie is also a Discovery Education Ambassador, a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Digital Innovator All-Star and serves on the PBS KLRU Board of Education Committee. Stay up to date on the latest blog posts, content, tools, and more from PBS Education! Friends need to listen to each other and take turns talking. They can be utilized with all ages, and at the secondary level, may be called collaborative class discussions. I often hear students singing along with Daniel and his friends as they Find a way to play together and Try to solve the problems themselves. Adults promote kindness by modeling kind behaviors in their interactions with children, families and colleagues. Skills associated with kindness … Empower your students to take initiative. An Intentional, Comprehensive Curriculum ... and teaching kindness… Children develop compassion through acts of caring and kindness towards others, and as they grow, it can guide their actions and behaviors in positive ways. Leverage Social Stories Including a Problem To Solve. Often times, children may be able to identify ‘needs,” yet not know how to take action. Educators have been aware, for the last 300 years that there is a case to be made for … Mallory Mbalia is the Assistant Principal at Underwood GT Elementary in Raleigh, NC. Leverage Social Stories Including a Problem To Solve. We spend several months focused on learning “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.”  One very important habit that helps students learn to be kind to others, especially when dealing with conflict, is “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”  This helps students see each other through a kindness lens and appreciate what each other is feeling. A small, class community service project is a great way to connect to your community and provide an intentional opportunity for your students to experience empathy. I also model what a conversation looks like. Mallory serves as a trainer for her local station UNC TV Public Media North Carolina and is a Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Digital Innovator All-Star. Once or twice a month I take … IE 11 is not supported. In the early years of life, young children are naturally ego-centric and … Being a caring and compassionate role model is the best method for teaching your children about kindness, and setting a good example is key to getting them to apply these values to their relationships and interactions. Partner up classes to send each other kindness cards. Kindness plays an important part in showing … Being a caring and compassionate role model is the best method for teaching your children about kindness, and setting a good example is key to getting them to apply these values to … Educators. Her first book, Education Write Now Volume II, Top Strategies for Improving Relationships and Culture, co-authored with nine other passionate educators, will release in December 2018. Create a Friendship and Kindness Center. Starting early pays off, Flook said, in that for every dollar spent on early intervention, the return ranges from between $7 and $11. (Evoking Empathy). Morning meetings are a great opportunity for learners to develop empathy as they learn to listen with understanding and consider how best to respond to their peers. Throw kindness around like confetti! You may also want to volunteer together at a food bank during the holidays or gather items from family members to donate to a charity in your area. The qualities in the center include positive sentiments about what friendship means: friends show patience, , encourage each other, respect personal space, include others, help others, use kind words, show compassion and celebrate differences. In a time where there seems to be many negative messages in the media and beyond, we in early childhood programs experience the effects on young children. I always introduce our custodian to our class the first day of school and regularly thank her for all that she does in front of the class. Planting seeds of kindness begins with designing early childhood environments that promote kindness. Michelle’s goals include the  Social emotional growth of her students and the use technology to inspire a love of learning in her class of 21st century learners. It’s a quick and simple way for students to express kindness and compassion for others. If you teach kindergarten, transitional kindergarten, or really any early childhood program that has a bit more of an academic bent to it, you’ll want to look at Simply Kinder. Fostering a culture of kindness enhances the connections made peer-to-peer and student to teacher. Although there’s no denying that teachers have various demands to tend to, devoting ample time to nurturing the classroom culture through teaching kindness is exactly what allows us to be successful in other areas. Often, we’ll change partners, and depending on our structure, we may regroup into a circle. Start by asking … Yes, you can help your child be more empathetic! No matter what grade level you teach, never underestimate your impact. In my classroom, we are always teaching about kindness, modeling standing up for ourselves and others in appropriate ways, as well as other social-emotional lessons. Carving out time to intentionally promote kindness cultivates empathy and understanding between individuals, leading to deeper relationships. The only rule in my class is, “We are all friends.”  We began the year by creating a chart that shows what a friend can do, what friends will do and what friends like to do together. Julie’s primary goals have been to increase student achievement in literacy and technology skills in and out of her classroom. Weave lessons of kindness into your daily routine. ​Elisabeth Bostwick, Michelle Garmon, Julie Hildebrand, Ashley Judd and Mallory Mbalia, Managing Feelings in the First Week of School, What the Dot Test Can Teach Us to De-Stress Our Students, Pushing Toward APUSH: Online Resources to Help Students Prepare for the AP US History Exam. Increased Feelings of Gratitude. We start working on empathy. Learn the Kindness Activity Approach Ask the child what it means to be kind and give an example of an act of kindness Introduce the “kindness jar” to the child Explain that you will be adding pom poms as you notice kind … When children are part of projects that help others less fortunate … 6. Sharing social stories allows learners to be metacognitive about problems they may encounter. Children become aware of … They help teach empathy, compassion, and of course kindness. Student Greeters welcome visitors to Michelle’s classroom with a cheerful “Hello neighbor!” “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” is stenciled above the smartboard. During a morning meeting, students may discuss a topic shared by the teacher and as they gain autonomy, they can take on leadership roles by helping to create the morning message or topic of discussion. When your children come home from school, ask them to tell you two ways that people were helpful to them during the day. 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