Last week, students at Westside and Janssen Elementary Schools participated in “The Great Kindness Challenge.” This national initiative seeks to empower students to create a culture of kindness. (View a short video about "The Great Kindness Challenge" at Westside.)
Students at both schools spent one week focusing on and performing as many acts of kindness as possible. It is a proactive and positive bullying prevention initiative aimed at improving school climate.
At Westside Elementary School, students organized activities each day of the week and by grade. For example, on Tuesday they wore paper bracelets where they tallied their goal of smiling and saying something nice to 25 people, and on Thursday they wore workout clothes to school as a reminder to “Work on Kindness.” The second graders shared their message that “Kindness Rocks” by painting and hiding rocks around their school. Students in third grade made a giant donut poster where they “Sprinkled Messages of Kindness.” The entire school gathered to form a heart with the message inside that said, “Kindness Matters.”
At Janssen students had lists of acts of kindness that they could check off as they completed them. Several classes did service projects and every classroom took time each day to discuss and reflect on what it means to be kind. Janssen students created cards and messages of kindness to share with others.
Students involved in planning “The Great Kindness Challenge” activities at their school, believe kindness is an important message to share with the community. “It’s really good that we are doing these things because it’s something the whole world needs,” said Adela Loose, fourth grader at Westside. “It turns out it’s always fun to see smiles on other people’s faces because it always feels so good to have that happen.”
“I’m proud that our school has participated in this and what everybody, like all the grades in our school, have been doing,” said Bella Abrams, also a fourth grader at Westside. “I’m proud of everybody for doing it.”