On LinkedIn Todd Kominiak shared a U. Michigan (2010) study showing that empathy was on the decline among college students in America. Okay, that got me going… Google Scholar, phone calls to my publisher, where’s the data for elementary-aged students?
The good news… We’re seeing the opposite regarding kindness and empathy among school-aged kids. In fact, kids find Kindness “Catchy.” When we talk with kids using The “Kindness CAN” poster or we ask them, “What CAN kindness do for you?” They are overflowing with adorable answers.
Kids want to climb aboard the Kindness Train. They are eager to wear Thinkerbee’s red glasses to “See kindness everywhere,” share Bud Notes with staff in school and calculate their Daily Acts of Kindness on the Bloom Your Room™ Kindness Calculator.
I’m also happy to see that teens are interested as well. Kindness Clubs are popping up in schools and over 25,000 youth are participating in GenerationOn’s #rulesofkindness current youth-kindness event.
I don’t know about you, but the herd of teens who stampede through our home each week are pretty kind as well. They still offer to get me ice cream when they go to Baskin Robbins, which I appreciate:).
We all wish to see more Kindness everywhere, here are some elementary-aged resources you won’t want to miss. We CAN LET Kindness IN everywhere…. Let’s…
Let’s See Kindness As More Than An “Elective”
Kindness and empathy are social-emotional skills that lay the foundation upon which academic learning takes place. When children feel emotionally safe, appreciated, respected and listened to, they learn better. Research shows that a sense of emotional connectedness, specifically within student-teacher relationships leads to better adjusted, more successful learners. There are several ways we can move from seeing kindness and empathy as “add-on” curriculum offerings and begin to incorporate them into our classrooms daily just as we do with math, reading, history, and science. Here are some resources to get you started.
Let’s Talk About Kindness
Let’s begin by having “Cognitive Conversations” about kindness in school.
Cognitive Conversations are powerful. They are the conversations you have with children that help them think about, reflect on and even problem-solve around a specific experience or issue. Cognitive conversations are designed to enhance your students social-emotional, thinking, learning and behavior skill sets by bringing front of mind the definition of a concept (such as kindness, empathy, culture, attention, self-regulation, impulse control), the meaning of a concept (what it looks like or how it is applied in our thoughts, words, and actions) and the actions related to a concept, what we can do to enhance it (these are the how to’s, think this, say this, do this.)
“We have found that having Cognitive Conversations with children improves their self-awareness and knowledge of the existence of and application of skills that might have previously gone unknown, unseen or out of awareness.”
Awareness is power, when we know more, we can do better.
Let’s Teach Children What They Can Say, Think and Do To Be Kind
We look at kindness as a skill. Like many skills, some people get it intuitively. Others are best, taught kindness. Using the Bloom Your Room™ Community Cards, teachers, therapists, and parents have 20 Kindness Conversation Starters and Activities to help children define their Cultures of Kindness, learn how they can help a classmate in need, learn what they can say to lift other kids up, explore why their acts of kindness are so important and more.
Let’s LIVE with Kindness Every Day
There you go, more than 20 ideas + resources to help raise kindness and empathy to a higher level. Let’s do this! Let’s LIFT education for kids up!
As one of my young students told me, “Dr. Lynne, It’s Simple, Let’s just BEE Kind.”
Thinkerbee and friends make exploring social-emotional literacy as much fun for educators as it is for students. With interactive classroom activities and delightful visual aides, educators will find easy-to-follow strategies, tips, and tools that enhance social-emotional learning, inspiring children (ages 4-10) to experience kindness and empathy in their relationships with friends, peers, teachers and school personnel. Find our NEW book Bloom Your Room Here.