top of page
Blog: Blog2
  • Whole Child Counseling

How to Celebrate and Promote Kindness in Schools



One of the things I love about being active on instagram is that I get to connect with and be inspired by other school counselors all over the world! In this blog, I am excited to share some of the inspiring ideas from how Angela Medina Martinez brings kindness to her school.


Kindness can sometimes be overlooked in schools but honestly, it's like the secret ingredient that can make a school a better place for everyone. Even small acts of kindness can create a supportive culture and a positive space where everyone feels welcome.


There are a few awesome initiatives out there to celebrate kindness in schools including The Great Kindness Challenge, Random Acts of Kindness Week, and World Kindness Day. These initiatives can be quite impactful for teaching kids about the importance of kindness and making schools a better place.


In this blog post, we will cover the benefits of celebrating kindness in schools, including some of the science of how kindness impacts the brain, ideas for promoting kindness in schools with insight from Angela Medina Martinez, and classroom and school-wide kindness activity ideas.



What are the Benefits of Celebrating Kindness in Schools?


Kindness has the power to unite school communities, create a sense of belonging, and positively impact those who give, receive, and even witness acts of kindness. Research has shown that kind acts can reduce stress, increase happiness, and improve overall well-being. Kindness helps the person doing the act of kindness, the person receiving the act of kindness, and even any of the witnesses to the act of kindness.


People who are continually kind age slower than the rest of the population. When you engage in acts of kindness, the neurotransmitter serotonin is released in your brain. This “feel-good” chemical helps with healing wounds and keeping your bones healthy. When people are kind, they also report having less aches and pains.


Doing acts of kindness helps lower your own feelings of anxiety, stress, and depression. People who are continually kind have 23% less of the stress hormone cortisol. When people act kind, they report feeling more confident too.


When someone witnesses another person being kind to someone else, oxytocin or “the love hormone” is released. This is a hormone that helps with self-esteem, heart health, and blood pressure. People who witness kindness are more likely to pay it forward. Kindness spreads and creates a domino effect because the person who received the act of kindness feels good and then they’ll want to make other people feel good too. Even the people who witnessed the kindness will feel good, so they’ll want to replicate that feeling as well.

 

When you do something kind and show caring for someone, your brain releases the hormones that make you feel calmer and happier. Serotonin and Dopamine are neurotransmitters that are released in the brain. Serotonin helps with your mood and dopamine gives you feelings of pleasure and satisfaction.


In short, kindness is good for our bodies and it's also essential for making schools feel safe, connected, and like places we want to be. Not lets talk about some ideas for building a school culture where everyone can be their best selves.





Promoting Kindness in Schools: Insights from

Angela Medina Martinez


I caught up with Angela Medina Martinez who is a school counselor that works with UTK-grade 6. I wasn't sure what UTK stood for and learned that it means Universal Transitional Kindergarten, where students must be 4 on or before September 1st of that school year.


Angela has celebrated the Great Kindness Challenge in her school for three years in a row. She notes that “each year is different, but for the most part, we have a week long of activities and events.” Some of the events and activities Angela has organized for the Great Kindness Challenge include:


  • Spirit Week

  • Kindness Stations

  • A Kindness Cart for Staff

  • Parent and Guardian Appreciation

  • Kindness Door Decoration Contest

  • Kindness Lessons

  • “Caught Being Kind” Slips Given to Students by Staff

  • Kindness Quotes Read During the Morning Announcements

Angela even includes a teacher kit for each classroom which includes everything needed to participate in the challenge for the week! This is an awesome idea for simple implementation for the teachers.


Angela says some of the strategies that were most successful included raffles, announcing all the "caught being kind" slips during the morning announcements, and giving out treats (as small as a jelly bean) for stopping by the kindness station and completing acts of kindness.


Angels says the biggest impact was realizing that “there are many different ways to show kindness, and it does not just start or stop this week. We remind them how important it is to be kind this week, but we continue the conversation throughout the academic year. They were excited to complete the kindness acts I had in our kindness station.” 


One of her most impactful activities was the kindness cart for staff. Angela said, “Each year, the joy I see when delivering teachers their room service is so amazing, especially knowing how hard they work all year. This is just a small gesture to show them my appreciation for their support of the challenge.”


Her hard work made a positive impact and she received lots of positive feedback from kids and staff. They said things like:


  • My students enjoyed being able to go do special activities in your room at lunch. 

  • I loved how organized our materials were, and of course the treats made me feel special.

  • The kindness cubes were nice to use in our community circle.

  • The events and spirit days were fun.



For future years Angela plans to add on a big event at the end of the week like a Color Run. They had planned one for last year, but the weather wasn't cooperating so they had to cancel it. Angela also plans to reach out to local businesses to help with donations and to take into consideration the recommendations and suggestions from her staff to help all the events run smoother, such as by promoting the challenge further in advance.


Angela’s suggestion for you to have a successful kindness week or event at your school is to not do it all yourself and to create a committee. She says “It is a lot of work for one person to plan and facilitate every day. I have been doing it alone for the last three years, and it is overwhelming. However, so rewarding once [it is] done.”





More Classroom and School-Wide Kindness Activity Ideas


Here are some ideas for schools to consider to celebrate kindness and help create a positive and inclusive school culture. Incorporating these activities can help instill values of empathy, compassion, and community with students, leaving a lasting positive impact on the school environment.


  • Kindness Kickoff Assembly: Begin the week with an assembly featuring stories of kindness, perhaps even inviting guest speakers who have made a significant impact in their communities.


  • Kindness Challenge: Encourage students to complete a certain number of kind acts throughout the week and record them on "Kindness Cards" for a bulletin board.


  • Kindness Wall: Set up a wall where students can pin up or stick notes of appreciation, gratitude, or kind words about their peers and teachers.


  • Compliment Chain: Start a chain of compliments where each student gives a compliment to another, and it continues throughout the class or grade.


  • Secret Acts of Kindness: Students can draw names and perform secret acts of kindness for that person throughout the week.


  • Daily Kindness Themes: Each day can have a specific theme, such as ”Make a Difference Monday,” "Thank a Teacher Tuesday," "Warm Words Wednesday,” “Thoughtful Thursday,” and “Friendship Friday”


  • Kindness Crafts: Organize craft stations where students can paint kindness rocks, and create friendship bracelets or gratitude jars. Counselor Gray set up kindness stations where her students decorated picture frames and colored kindness bookmarks.

  • Kindness Stories: Dedicate some time for students to share personal stories or experiences related to acts of kindness, either witnessed, received, or given.


  • Community Projects: Organize projects like a school garden, a mural, or a community clean-up, emphasizing the importance of showing kindness to the environment and community.

  • Donate to a Cause: Organize a drive and encourage students to bring in something for it (non-perishable food drive, sock drive, mitten drive, or a book drive) to donate to local shelters, charities, or food banks.


  • Kindness Stations: Set up stations where students can write thank you cards, craft, or engage in other acts of kindness.


  • Spread Kindness Online: Use the school's social media platforms to share positive messages, stories, or quotes.


  • Kindness Book Club: Have students read and discuss stories centered around the theme of kindness. Check out these kindness book suggestions!


  • Guest Workshops: Invite organizations or individuals who specialize in community service or kindness programs to host workshops for students.


  • Kindness Awards: At the end of the week, have a small ceremony to recognize students or staff who have shown exceptional acts of kindness.


  • Affirmation Station: Create a place where students can take an affirmation for themselves and write one for someone else.


  • Flash Mob for Kindness: Organize students to surprise another class or the staff with a flash mob emphasizing kindness — it could include a song, dance, or a series of messages. Our staff all did a flash mob coordinated dance one year and surprised our students. It was an absolute blast!


  • Spread Kindness to Staff: Encourage students to leave notes or small tokens of appreciation for the staff who support the school daily like the janitors, lunch staff, bus drivers, and others.



  • Kindness in the Curriculum: Teachers can incorporate themes of kindness into lessons, or teach about kindness directly. Here are some kindness activities to consider.


  • Reflection Time: Dedicate some time for students to reflect on their acts of kindness, what they've learned, and how they felt.  They can discuss, write, or draw about it.














Kindness Books, Videos, and More


If you're looking for more resources on kindness, be sure to check out:







Free Kindness Bookmarks, Dice, and More!


Are you looking for a free printable kindness bookmarks, dice, or a free bingo game to teach kids about kindness, empathy, and inclusion? Or do you want to play this free kindness dice game? If you're already a subscriber, be sure to head to my Free Resource Library.


If you're not on my list yet, just scroll to the top of this page to subscribe to my social-emotional learning library. You'll gain access to this awesome FREE kindness bingo board and dice, plus other free social emotional learning printables today!











More Kindness Activities from Whole Child Counseling



Do your students or kids need some help with being caring and showing kindness to each other? Do you want to address positive social skills and character traits and work on empathy, inclusion, and making healthy friendship choices? This fun activity and game bundle will help you work on these positive pro-social skills! Students will have fun learning and practicing kindness with this awesome bundle that includes:


✔ Scenario Cards, Discussion Cards, Sorting Mats, Flipbook, and a Social Story


✔ Game Boards


✔ 25 Coloring Pages and Worksheets


✔ Story with Writing Response


✔ Graphic Organizers and a "Was I Kind Today?" Self-Reflection Worksheet


✔ Kindness Quotes for Discussion Prompts


✔ IEP Objectives and a Data Collection Log


✔ Caught Being Kind Notes Home and Editable Letter to Families About the Topic




✔ Suggested Companion Resources and "I Can" Learning Statements Poster


✔ Playing a Game Visual Poster







References



Fryburg, D. A. (2021). Kindness as a stress reduction–Health Promotion Intervention: A review of the Psychobiology of Caring. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 16(1), 89–100. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827620988268


Kindness may help socially anxious people relax, says new research by dr. Lynn Alden. UBC Department of Psychology. (n.d.). https://psych.ubc.ca/news/kindness-may-help-socially-anxious-people-relax-says-new-research-by-dr-lynn-alden/


McCraty, R., Barrios-Choplin, B., Rozman, D., Atkinson, M., & Watkins, A. D. (1998). The impact of a new emotional self-management program on stress, emotions, heart rate variability, DHEA and cortisol. Integrative physiological and behavioral science : the official journal of the Pavlovian Society. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9737736


Post, S. G. (2005). Altruism, happiness, and health: It’s good to be good. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12(2), 66–77. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327558ijbm1202_4


Steve Siegle, Psy. D. (2023, August 17). Practice the art of kindness. Mayo Clinic Health System. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/the-art-of-kindness


Welcome to Randomactsofkindness.org. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. (n.d.). https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness



123 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page