To me, one of the most rewarding aspects to working with children is building a relationship with the ones who need it the most. Many of us have encountered students who sorely need an extra dose of kindness.
What tends to strike me the most is how simple things like having a quick chat in the hallway before class, exchanging smiles as you pass each other in the cafeteria or checking in about the weekend before beginning a lesson, mean so much.
This makes me happy and, honestly, a bit sad. These wonderful, little people, exploring the simultaneously exhilarating and exasperating world around them, deserve our time, attention, respect and kindness. Perhaps Maria Montessori said it best:
Over the next several months, some of my favorite educators and I will be sharing free ideas and resources to help weave kindness into your time with your students.
We all know (too well) that it’s easy to get caught up in lesson plans, meetings, paperwork and the push to meet so many standards. This Kindness Project is dedicated to making it easier for all of us to put our relationships, with the children who inspired us to become educators in the first place, front and center!
I’m kicking off this series with a free Kindness Packet filled with ideas and activities you can use with your own students.
When I was in Junior High, my health teacher gave each of us a paper plate to tape to our backs. Then we proceeded to write kind words on each other’s plates. I saved that plate for some time because, during those adolescent years, it meant so much to revisit such kind words from my peers.
In this spirit, your freebie includes a “Thanks for Being You” flip book, which has a page dedicated to peers writing kind words to each other. The other pages of the flip book will help you to build an even more meaningful rapport with your students. Inspiring quotes are included for discussion and comfort. In addition, children have the opportunity to identify coping strategies that work well for them, describe their strengths, reflect on kindness and, again, give and receive words of affirmation with their peers.
This free resource includes notes of encouragement to share with your students. Also, if you’d like to provide them with a safe space to share their feelings or stories, try offering a pen pal box that you check monthly.
(As an added bonus, this resource also targets vocabulary, attributes, synonyms and oral language skills!)
I also like inspiring my students to be kind to others. You can check out my specific ideas with my 5 Lessons that Teach Altruism
So, what’s the best way to make a child feel beautiful?
I say, the answer is to really see and hear each child. Kneeling to a child’s eye-level, giving your undivided attention, patience and time, thoughtfully answering questions, creating safe spaces, really listening, unconditionally loving. I believe these are the gifts we must always strive to give to children.
Somewhere out there, there is a child who is happier because of the respect and kindness you give. Thank you.
Stay tuned for a treasure trove of Kindness Project inspiration from some incredible educators! Do you have any inspiring ideas for showing kindness to young people? If so, please leave a comment- I’d love to hear!
Check out more inspiring posts from the Kindness Project!
(Note: Before launching this blog series, I did an online search for the term “The Kindness Project.” There was no indication of it being a trademarked term and I was delighted to see other websites sharing random acts of kindness and seeking to do good deeds. You can also search this term on Teachers Pay Teachers to find more free and paid resources from other educators).