Saturday, February 11, 2012

How do we Teach Kindness?

How is it that kindness is taught?
How do we teach generosity?
How does empathy arise?

Can these behaviors be taught? How?
What do we reinforce? What do we notice?

photo of: ARK Wreath: Acts of Random Kindness, Teaching Kindness to Children
Here's a simple idea. Perfect for visual learners.
Perfect for teaching delayed gratification as well.
Start with an 'empty' wreath. Have your families send in odds and ends of ribbons for your use.
This will be a great connection between family and school. Upcycle those old ribbon ends!!
Imagine my excitement to enter a program that focuses on KINDNESS!

When you observe your children, your students: caught in the act -- the act of KINDNESS, add a ribbon!
They get to choose the color, the very ribbon to be added. Let the 'kind-child' choose the spot on the wreath for their ribbon to be tied. If able they can tie it themselves.

As the year progresses there will be more + more ribbons!!!!!!!
The wreath will emerge, filled with COLOR!!!! Growing over time.

I got to see this idea in action during my recent "Author/Illustrator" visit to Crossroads Preschool, where I was invited to sing and dance with the children and their parents. We had an amazing time with sing-a-longs, Daddy monsters and PIZZA!!! They know how to throw a party!

Certainly Dr. Pam Schiller and Dr. Becky Bailey and others speak of the first years of a child's life as having the weight for character development and how critical the formation of empathy is for the growing, maturing child. I heard Dr. Pam address a crowded ballroom of teachers, saying that "TRUST is job one." She addressed that 'trust' is job one for the child -- that we as educators need to gain that trust and establish a community of trust in the process.

photo of: Teaching "kindness" to children with simple wreath as reinforcement tool

This is a parallel concept for the filling of buckets metaphor.
photo of: Have you Filled a Bucket today? Bucket-filling metaphor presented in children's artwork

Did you get to see this post from my earlier author/illustrator visit to Kindergarten?
They had a whole 'system' for kindness feedback with buckets!

photo of: Bucket Filling Station in First Grade via RainbowsWithinReach

From the far off future I saw this amazing wall getting ready to have buckets filled.

Let me know your ideas in the comment section.
I'd LUV to hear your 'system' for reinforcing the good you observe.

Our fantastic collaborative blog has already had 100,000 page views -- in just a couple of months!

Our own Barbara Greuner, school guidance counselor and contributor over at our collaborative blog, 'PreK+K Sharing' has her article this month on this very topic:
"Kindness is a Super Power." 

Click right here to see her thoughts and suggestions --
from the perspective of guidance counselor.

Imagine my excitement to enter a program that focuses on KINDNESS!

-- Debbie --  

I have added this article over at the new Kids Co-op!!
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Make a jump into the future and I'll share a post being used by my daughter-in-law in their home. 

Yes, Yes, Yes!!!!
I now have a 'store' over at Teachers Pay Teachers

Pop over there to 'follow me' as I release my original songs-for-children in zipped files with Mp3's. Come by and get your FREEBIE song! 

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth -


  1. Sounds like an awesome idea!I don't know what I teach high school girls and I actually really like this idea! I'm going to take pictures and post it on my site.

    1. Charles!! Glad this idea strikes a chord for you. I think it could work at any age -- any level. Thanks so much for the vote of affirmation! (I'll tie a ribbon on the next wreath I see -- in your honor.)

  2. WoW - thanks for the shout out, my friend. That piece was SUCH a JoY to write! I'm off to the Texas Counseling Association Conference in a bit . . . my session topic? Elevating Empathy and Creating A Climate of CAREacter! It's quite different from other sessions I've led and I'm totally jazzed about the possibilities.

    The Corner On Character

    1. What an amazing conference that promises to be, Barbara! They are fortunate to have your presentation. I can't wait to hear how it goes. Wishing you well from sunny Florida!

  3. I LOVE this ... great idea for young children! I enjoy participating in the 100 Acts of Kindness project with my family (even though we're all adults now). Here's a post I published with different kindness ideas for a number of ages: I pinned your post to my Kindness Projects Pinterest board.

    1. Deb .......... thanks as always for your support. I know that this particular post has risen in viewership due to Pinterest. It's just gotten a new boost of viewers and its suddenly shot to the #2 spot of readers -- for all time.

      You're the best!


  4. "Their" not "there"

    1. Yup. That bugged me too, but I've overlooked the error in favor of the sentiment. I decided to include the photo of their explanation as a sample of the motivation of the project. Please make your own adjustments accorindingly.




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Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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