Fourth-grader Graciela wrote a note complimenting her “best friend ever.”
Nine-year-old Wil held the door open for others and helped classmates with Math.
“I gave my teacher an apple, and I gave some flowers to the office staff,” said Cloe, 9.
Among 2nd-graders, answers included smiling at 25 people, hugging a friend and giving high-fives.
All week long, Heron School has been practicing “Kindness Week,” so these students were reflecting on how they’d reached out to others.
Principal Amy Whitten said the special week is observed nationwide, so Heron’s Flyers were part of a massive campaign in which kids of all ages are presented with a list of kind things to do and challenged to accomplish them all in a week.
“They get excited about it,” Whitten said. “I think it’s contagious, kindness is contagious. They know we’re focusing on this, so they recognize it, they see it, and they’re excited to share it.”
Fifty items were on the Kindness to-do list for Heron Flyers in 2nd through 8th grades, including:
· Make a new friend
· Read a book to a younger child
· Sit with a new group of kids at lunch
· Carry your friend’s books
· Make a kind poster for cafeteria helpers
The list was much smaller, a dozen items, for youngsters from Transitional Kindergarten through 1st grade. However, one of the challenges for students of all ages was to create their own random act of kindness.
Every Heron student who completed their challenge list will receive a certificate of appreciation and a “Kindness Matters” pencil. Many Flyers passed the test, Whitten said, although winners won’t be known until Monday.
Eighth-grader Lucille, a member of Heron’s student leadership team, said she and other middle school students created Valentine’s artwork to be given to children who are hospitalized. She and classmates also enjoyed creating hearts and passing them out to friends, she said.
“It brings the school closer,” she said of Kindness Week. “Also, it brings awareness. Sometimes you don’t realize how you’re affecting people in a good or bad way.”
Whitten said she tries to emphasize kindness throughout the year, for example, in morning announcements she reminds Flyer students to treat each other with kindness and respect. And in Heron’s school motto, abbreviated as SOAR, the “o” stands for offering kindness, Whitten said.
“We talk about kindness a lot,” Whitten said.
But Kindness Week offers a new twist on the theme, and its to-do list turns helping others into an exciting game.
As part of Kindness Week, Heron classrooms also collected coins to contribute toward building a health clinic in Liberia.
What does Whitten hope that students take away from Kindness Week? “That small acts of kindness, small intentional acts, really do make a difference, in the culture of our school, in how other kids feel, and in how they feel themselves.”