Pictured above: Students at Franklin Elementary School recently spent a week learning how to be kind.
Teaching kids not to be bullies is one thing. But how about teaching them to be kind?
Recently, students at Franklin Elementary spent a week focusing on kindness. Initiated by counselor Lisa DiMurro-Johnson with the help of both parent and student volunteers, the first-ever Kindness Week approached the ideas of goodwill, altruism, thoughtfulness and gratitude with activities that provided opportunities for students to look beyond themselves.
During morning announcements, DiMurro-Johnson shared quotes about kindness. At lunch, students created cards for friends, family members, teachers and the school’s staff. Students also read to one another and participated in school-wide themes such as “wear your shirt backward (because words that hurt can’t be taken back).”
The intentional acts kindness were more than just exercises, however. Said DiMurro-Johnson, “I think it’s really important that we spread kindness, especially with bullying, to help kids think more positively about one another.”
“If we were not kind, it would be a really sad world and not as fun as it is now,” said Adrienne Knight, a fifth-grader who helped DiMurro-Johnson deliver cards, including one she’d made for her younger sister.
According to students, kindness is important even if it goes unnoticed. Said another helper, fifth-grader Nathaniel Prater, “Kindness is something that you volunteer. You don’t do it to get rewards. You do it to help out and make other people feel good.”
The week was part of a larger lesson on the subject. DiMurro-Johnson works with students regularly to practice kindness. “We use positive self-talk, and we talk positively about other people, and just try to have a growth mindset,” she explained.
Nathaniel already had recognized the positive effects of kindness from others. “It changes my day,” he said. “It makes my whole life better.”