Being kind is just such a beautiful thing to witness in a classroom. It just melts your heart when you see little scholars being kind to one another, but we need to build and encourage kindness in the classroom because it isn’t always easy to be kind. Some kids are just genuinely kind individuals and for others, well, kindness must be taught. I’m sure you can all picture a few kids in your mind right now! Encouraging kindness in the classroom is essential to every classroom. With these simple acts of kindness in the classroom, kindness will be blooming all over your classroom!
Acts of Kindness in The Classroom
To start off, to teach kindness is to teach others about experiences they may or may not have been through. A great way to teach this empathy for others is through books! Read-alouds are a perfect way to build kindness and teach empathy. It is okay to be explicit with empathy. Sometimes children need to hear and see someone being kind or showing empathy to be able to emulate it. Not every child will naturally just be empathetic! Even better, check out this blog post of some read alouds all about friendship!
Don’t be afraid of building a kindness challenge! Human nature makes us want to compete, so make the competition about kindness! Celebrate acts of kindness in the classroom by challenging students to complete them. When students complete a kind act, allow them to enter it into a raffle or make a bar graph. The visual will help remind students of the competition, but also remind them to be kind. A little extra incentive will help move the kind acts along and then just like anything else, once you do it enough, it becomes a habit! It is every teacher’s dream to have kindness be a habit for their students
Modeling kindness is another necessity in a classroom. Children need to see what kindness looks like. Model kindness with students, teachers, the school nurse, parent volunteers, and even be kind to yourself. Let the students see the kindness in action so they can copy your behavior. Teachers are often our students’ favorite people and our behavior goes a long way in influencing their own! Remember being explicit about modeling kindness is a positive too! Make sure students are noticing kindness in the classroom by pointing it out, even when you are demonstrating it! Make it a game and have children report when they see kind acts happening!
Use morning meetings to demonstrate empathy and kindness! Morning meetings are so rewarding and a vital part of the day, but kindness and empathy can definitely be a huge part of them. When students share stories of their weekends or you discuss something happening in the school or the world, it is a great opportunity to add a little kindness. Model kindness and empathy for those little minds!
Social emotional learning is a huge part of elementary school and kindness is perfect for this topic! Add in some lessons on kindness or some activities for students to practice kindness. This will definitely impact the culture of your classroom and build kindness throughout the school day! Painting rocks with motivational quotes is a huge game changer. Place them around the school or in the local parks and students will have a blast when they find other rocks of kindness!
Showcase acts of kindness! This is a great one because when a student is “caught being kind” or “caught being the one” it provides a huge sense of pride and accomplishment. Why wouldn’t they want to do it again? Of course they do! Make an announcement for the whole school or add a blurb to a kindness bulletin board for all to see. Making a huge deal about kindness will definitely encourage more kindness to happen!
One more is doing scenarios with the children. This is also a fun game too! You can use any scenarios you like, but what would you do scenarios are perfect for teaching kindness. You can practice discussion protocols, sharing ideas, and promote and exemplify kindness within student answers. Videos on YouTube could work well for this too and you could even combine this with read-alouds!
It is just so cool to be kind! Building a culture of kindness in your classroom is definitely a goal and I know these ideas will come in handy when thinking about how you can spread kindness. Keep encouraging those kids to preform acts of kindness in the classroom and empathy will be born and continue to grow!