5 Ideas to Create a Culture of Kindness in your Primary Classroom That Will Make you SMILE!

I am thinking that if you are like me, you want to see more kindness in the world...kind actions and words every where. We need to start teaching our students and children how to be kind to one another and to spread kindness like confetti...If this sounds like YOU, then you will love this post: 5 Ideas to Create a Culture of Kindness in your Primary Classroom that will Make YOU Smile...you will especially like #5

So...today as I walked into Wawa, which, for those who do not live in the Delaware Valley, is an awesome convenience store that has everything from great coffee and soup to nuts and breakfast sandwiches to name a few things, I saw an older gentleman running toward me as I was about to open the door. He was wearing an US Navy baseball cap and said, "No, let me get that door for you!"  I looked a bit bewildered because I had nothing but my pocket book on my shoulder and by no means did I need any help what so ever, but I replied,"Sure, Thank you! Now aren't you kind." He limped into the store and wore a smile from ear to ear and I...well...I wallowed for a while in his kindness and began to reminisce to "the old days" when doors were held and opened for others and people...well...people seemed to expect that these actions were simply what you did without even thinking about it!

I grabbed my coffee and juggled my purse as I threw the change into it and walked behind a man who opened the door to exit and well...he just looked straight ahead, unaware of me behind him and simply let the door swing back at me...good thing I had the change in my purse and had a free hand or I would probably have a broken nose...well that might be an exaggeration, but you get the point.

"POOF" in 2 minutes I went from experiencing a simple kind gesture to a who cares if the door slams into a person attitude and then I had a revelation ( soft inspirational music please).

Kindness is a lost social grace.  I am not saying that no one shows kindness anymore, because they do...but what I am saying is we need to demonstrate kind actions everyday not just when our schools and neighborhoods decide to have a "pay it forward" or a "100 Acts of Kindness Week."  It reminds me of Mother's Day...we should be celebrating our moms everyday...not just one day a year...I know, I know...actually it is nice to have a special day where we celebrate kindness or moms or dads and especially teachers...BUT...it is important to demonstrate love, kindness and consideration every single day!

I am sure by  now you are wondering where I am going with this, but just give me a few more seconds...my point is..I think that Kindness is one of the most important behaviors that we can teach  our children and students.


I want it and I am sure you want it too...I mean everyone wants their students and children to be kind and show kindness in school and at home. At times it can be a difficult task, especially in a world where children are exposed to so much more than years ago.

In order to be kind it is necessary to ignite thought patterns that encourage children to think beyond themselves and to think about others. It is almost like stepping into the shoes of others to understand how they might feel. When children read a book, we ask them to imagine how a character might feel in a certain situation or even how they might feel if they were to experience what is happening in the story.  This is a form of empathy and a way to teach children how others might feel in different situations.  So it is important to give children opportunities to use real life situations.  For example, if they see a classmate crying, what would they do? A reminder to treat others the way they would want to be treated! YES..."The Golden Rule!"


So, here are 5 Ideas to Create a Culture of Kindness in your Primary Classroom That Will Make you SMILE!

1. Role Model and Practice Kindness:  You know the saying:  "Children Learn What They Live"...so if "Children Live with Kindness and Consideration, They Learn Respect."
We need to model kindness and consideration so our students will understand kindness and how to be kind.  We need to be aware of the words WE use when dealing with our students and our tone of voice. We need to USE those "Magic Words"or polite words..please, thank you, May I, Can I, etc.

Here is a resource I have created called:  Social Skills Manners Be Polite and Use Those Magic Words.  This resource will encourage your students or children to remember these words with posters and situational task cards to reinforce how to be polite and kind!


Another way to model kindness is as your students come into the classroom, greet them at the door to make them feel special. This small kind gesture will stay with them the entire day!
If children feel good about themselves, they will be calmer, more positive and ready to learn not to mention if you demonstrate this small act of kindness, you will see your students being kind to each other throughout the day!

2. Morning Meetings:  As soon as everyone is ready and all morning jobs are completed, provide a morning meeting where everyone joins in a circle on the rug and classmates greet each other in different ways.  They can pass a smile, shake hands to welcome their neighbor, elbow shake, butterfly greet or any ideas that you might think of for students to greet each other.  

You can also encourage a Compliment Greeting where each student gives a compliment to the person sitting next to them as they greet each other.  If you choose to do this, I always make sure that we compliment kind gestures or actions,
" Jimmy sat with me at lunch or Kelly shared her book with me" and not simply,"I like Johnny!"



A morning meeting provides a positive time for students to interact get to know each other better and when you nod or shake a hand and say, “Good Morning, Jake. I am really glad you are here today,” it sets a positive tone for your class and supports expected behaviors throughout the school day as well as supporting kindness, consideration for others and respect for each other.

A Morning Meeting consists of a Greeting, quick Game, Sharing Time and a Class Message, which all provide a positive way to start the day and encourage positive classroom behavior. (I will share more details about Morning Meeting in a later post).

3. Teach about Kindness and What it is and Means:  There are many resources out there and on Teachers Pay Teachers that have great ideas on how to encourage kindness and a plethora of books.

Here are a few books you may want to consider when teaching about kindness:
🌟  What Does It Mean to Be Kind? (Rana Diorio)
🌟  Kindness Counts (Brian Smith)
🌟  Kindness is Cooler Mrs. Ruler Margery Cuyler)
🌟 Small Acts of Kindness (James R. Vollbracht)
🌟 Hey Little Ant (Phil and Hannah Hoose)

Perhaps you may want to think about using my most recent resource:  Be Kind

This extensive resource, jammed packed with many activities and ideas, will support your students and/or children to understand and be aware of ways to spread kindness. With Thanksgiving and other holidays right around the corner, I cannot think of a better time than NOW to empower your students to demonstrate kindness and be kind to others!








4. "Talking Turtle" a Spot to Talk and Work Out Problems:  I had a turtle, which was an old sandbox I found at a garage sale...don't you just LOVE garage sales?  I mean they are right up there with Dollar Stores and the Target Dollar Spot as well as Wednesday trash days...I have been known to find some great FREE deals walking around the neighborhood...you know the old saying "Someone's Junk is another's Treasure" or something like that!  Any way you can use anything even just 2 pillows in a corner or a table with a few chairs in the back of the room.  The main idea is to provide a spot where your students or children can talk out their problems independently in a nonthreatening considerate way giving each person a chance to talk and then coming up with a common solution on which everyone agrees. I can hear you right now...how long do you let them talk? What if they never come up with a solution and yadda, yadda, yadda! I place a poster with steps to solve problems and how to fix what you have broken in a kind and considerate way so everyone can feel good with the solution...I have to admit that sometimes it can go a bit long, but the upside is...they are learning how to take responsibility for their actions and how to solve problems...I may just have to write another post on this as well.

5. Kindness Jar All Year Long:  Have a Compliment or Kindness Jar during February or any month, for that matter.  I always placed the "jar" on a counter where it was easily accessible so children were able to write compliments about a classmate.  At the end of the day, I would simply pull a few out and read them to the class. This was also done during our morning meeting.  The jar I used was decorated with hearts to symbol kindness and I simply had a pencil/pen and heart-shaped sticky notes or paper next to the jar for students to write their compliments. If you notice that not everyone is getting a compliment, be sure to add some of your own so there is always smile!
       
Here is one I made for Kindergarten that was created from a clear flexible plastic container.
Any container or basket will work!














So...there you have it...5 Ideas to Create a Culture of Kindness in your Classroom...I hope you are smiling...I promised these ideas would make you smile and I never go back on my promises and after all...Kindness is a friendly smile!






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