By David Fong
TROY — In addition to the traditional “three Rs” of education — reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic — there was a particular focus on the letter K this week at Kyle Elementary School.
K, as in kindness.
All this week, the students took part in “The Great Kindness Challenge,” five days devoted to performing as many acts of kindness among students and staff members as possible. The project is a further extension of Kyle’s “Kindness and Compassion Club,” a group of students that meets twice a month before school to pursue positive, community-building activities.
“Obviously we want the kids to be kind all the time, but ‘Kindness Week’ is an opportunity for students to be more mindful of being kind to one another,” said school counselor Lynn Williams. Williams, along with intervention specialist Rachel Lewis and Title 1 Reading specialist Aimee Winteregg, helped spearhead the week-long activities. “This just gives kids a reminder and a chance to really think about things they can do to be kind to one another.”
The week was highlighted by a number of events throughout the school, including: classroom discussions about kindness and compassion, “Kindness Grams” being sold during lunch, “Snowflakes of Kindness” — in which each student wrote a wish that would make the world a kinder place — classroom door decorations and a “Random Acts of Kindness” challenge between classrooms.
“This week definitely refocuses the students’ involvement,” Lewis said. “We see that it makes the students more mindful of being kind to one another. It also brings up discussions about kindness and gives students some goals to work on.”
Since the formation of the “Kindness and Compassion Club” two years ago, kindness has truly come into focus at Kyle Elementary School. In addition to “Kindness Week,” students are continuously encouraged throughout the year to be kind to one another.
One initiative at the school as been the “Buddy Bench,” a specific bench on the school playground in which children who are not involved with other children at recess can sit on. Other students are then encouraged to involve the student sitting on the “Buddy Bench” in playground games or activities.
“We’ve had a lot of success with the ‘Buddy Bench,’” Lewis said. “We’ve had new students who will move in and use it — and now they don’t use it anymore. They don’t need to. They’ve made new friends they can play with on the playground.”
All told, the program has been a successful one at Kyle — one students, teachers and staff members are looking forward to participating in year after year.
“It really has been amazing,” Williams said. “The kids really seem to love it. It’s really encouraging to see.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong