Kindness is described in the English dictionary as ‘the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate’. Being kind feels good and creates positive bonds between children, their parents/guardians and educators. However, explaining the big dictionary words to young children won’t be straightforward so instead it is better to promote kindness by showing the children what kindness LOOKS like and what it SOUNDS like. By modelling kind behaviour in your classroom there is a greater chance that children will repeat those behaviours. Here are some tips to promote a kindness culture in your classroom;
- Define Kindness: Make sure you have a lesson on what the understanding of kindness is. As above, with small children it is best to show the children what it looks like and sounds like to be kind. Words alone don’t paint a full picture for young children.
- Model kindness: Use every opportunity in your classroom to show children how to handle various situations in a kind manner. Modelling kindness encourages children to follow.
- Reinforce kindness: When you notice kind behaviour and acts of kindness make sure you support it. Encourage the children to do the same. Create a ‘Kindness Board’ and have a class goal for when you reach 20, 30, 50 acts of kindness.
- Plan for unkindness: Have a plan in your classroom for situations that arise when someone is not being kind. How will the children handle this and how will they remain kind when someone is being unkind.
- Acknowledge and Share: Acknowledge the children when they are being kind. Let their parents know that they were being kind. Share it in your newsletter and on your social media. By recognising and sharing the kind behaviour it encourages more of the same.
- Talk about it: Talk about being kind everyday. Include it in Circle time and use it as an opportunity to ask the children about kindness. ‘Did you see any acts of kindness in the classroom today?’, ‘Do you have any examples of how you were kind to your friend today?’.
- Be Kind to Yourself: Being kind is not just about being kind to others but about being kind to yourself also. Always encourage the children to talk about themselves in a positive way. If they say things such as ‘I can’t do it’, encourage them to say ‘I can’t do it yet’. This encourages children to turn a negative thought about themselves into a positive.
Be Kind: Joy and Heron Short Story Video
To help introduce the children in your classroom to kindness, watch this great short story video about Joy and Heron. In only 3 minutes this video will show the children what kindness LOOKS like. The story tells the tale of adorable little dog Joy who is out fishing in a boat with his master when a pesky heron comes along and tries to steal the worm bait. Joy barks and gives chase to the Heron but then spots that the Heron is trying to feed his young with the worm. Joy then gives the worms to the Heron in order to feed his family and the Heron reciprocates with a very kind gesture. This is a great video to watch and will show the children how being kind encourages others to be kind.