The month of November marks the celebration of World Kindness Day – a day dedicated to reflecting on how we can be a little kinder in our everyday lives. We all need to receive kindness – whether it’s kindness from friends and family or an unexpected random act of kindness from a stranger. Each act of kindness makes someone’s day a little brighter. So, how do we support our students in the classroom to develop kindness? We have put together some top tips on how to teach kindness in the classroom!
Share kindness stories
A great start to teaching kindness in the classroom is to share kindness stories with your students. Set aside half an hour a week for a ‘storytime’ style session with your pupils. It may be a good idea to start your first session by sharing your own kindness story with students. Explain to them the principle and importance of kindness and then give them an example of when someone has been kind to you. Tell them the effect it had on you and share how it made you feel. After this, allow a different student each week to share their kindness story with the class. Encourage them to share how someone was kind to them or an act of kindness they performed towards someone else. Storytelling is a fantastic way of encouraging kindness conversations with your students.
Random acts of kindness
It goes without saying that children (especially younger students) learn from seeing and experiencing. Practice performing random acts of kindness in the classroom for your students and make sure to react well when you see them doing the same!
Another great idea would be to set your students a challenge of performing at least one random act of kindness a week. To start with, set them a list of different random acts of kindness that they can complete. Ask them to choose 1-3 random acts of kindness from the list to complete each week and then allow them time to feedback to the class on what they did.
Random acts of kindness you could suggest to students could include:
- Donating some old toys to a charity shop
- Help around the house without being asked
- Bake some tasty treats for your neighbours or classmates
- Help your teacher to clean up after lesson time
- Share with your classmates something that you appreciate about them
Teach kindness in the classroom
Some students may struggle to be kind for many different reasons (such as having additional needs). Taking time to not only model kindness but also explicitly teach kindness skills can be important and valuable. Explain how to give kindness and how to receive kindness, as some children can find this aspect challenging.
Recognising and recording kindness
Recording daily acts of kindness in the classroom is a powerful tool as it allows students to not only recognise their own and others’ kindness but also helps them to reflect on their actions. This is something both pupils and staff can get involved with. Recording acts of kindness can help to raise self-esteem, gain resilience and encourage positive reinforcement in the classroom; giving yourself and your pupils tools for the future.
Why not make a random acts of kindness display in your classroom? This could include a ‘kindness chart’ or a ‘random act of kindness of the week’. Recognising your students’ acts of kindness is as (if not more!) important than teaching it.
Incorporate kindness into your schools’ ethos
Perhaps focusing on a larget scale, incorporating kindness into your school’s ethos will allow it to be taught more widely across the school. When developing kindness in school becomes a focus, it is then more likely to me modelled and encouraged in everything you do. It may be useful to organise a meeting with your schools’ SLT to share your ideas on how kindness could be introduced more widely across the school and the benefits of this.
Some ways in which you could encourage kindness on a larger scale in school include:
- Conduct an assembly based around kindness
- Suggest a ‘kindness award’ – perhaps awarded to a different student in the school weekly/monthly
- Incorporate kindness into your school’s mission statement
If you are keen to find out on how to teach kindness in the classroom, take a look at some of the following resources: