We’ve all heard that kindness is key, but this is especially true while our students are learning behaviors that will stick with them throughout their lives. In recent years, schools have shifted their focus towards social emotional learning and promoting kindness as a way to build safe learning communities.
Here’s three ways you can promote kindness on your campus:
- Create a kindness calendar
- Start a kindness club
- Set up an encouragement wall
Create a Kindness Calendar
Work with students to make a school-wide kindness calendar. Students brainstorm a list of kindness challenges for each day. For example, they might think of running an errand for a family member or sending 5 people a kind text. You can look online for some examples of kindness calendars to spark your thinking. However, the calendar should be created by students, so that they take ownership of each action.
Also try turning your kindness calendar into a challenge! Students can keep track of how many days they complete the kindness activity. At the end of the month, if your students completed a certain number of activities, they’re entered into a drawing for a prize!
Acknowledging and celebrating students’ kind acts helps to reinforce a culture of kindness.
Start a Kindness Club
Work with students to start a kindness club or task-force to generate and celebrate random acts of kindness. The key here is to spread positivity throughout the school. Also, this gives students the autonomy to build a culture they’re proud of.
Here’s a great example of a “Kind Kids Club” that has helped transform their school with random acts of kindness. But don’t think that kindness clubs are just for elementary students. There are countless examples of middle and high schools out there who have their own clubs!
If you need more suggestions on how to build a club, Random Acts of Kindness has a great resource to get you started.
Set Up an Encouragement Wall
One way to promote kind words is through an encouragement wall. Use butcher paper or designate a space on the wall for students to put sticky notes with “shout-outs” to classmates that they appreciate. This visual reminder can really encourage positive behavior.
Use positive affirmation whenever possible. It’s up to us to model this language for our students, once they see us doing it, they’ll follow along.
Another way to build a positive culture is to create an appreciation circle. Gather the class together in a large circle. Begin by sharing a way a student helped you or a classmate. Explain why that behavior was appreciated. Then, open up the circle for students to recognize a classmate that was kind or helpful to them. Doing this regularly can be a powerful way to build community.
Finally, promoting kindness at your school will not only improve school culture, but it can create a lasting impact in the lives of your students!