Kindness given is kindness returned
Snowball Effect: descriptive of an entity or situation where something once small and relatively insignificant grows exponentially at a swift pace, engulfing everything in its path. As it descends down a snowy hill, it gathers more snow and whatever leaves, sticks, etc. are in its way. ~urbandictionary.com
Is this not something that we live for as parents? As educators? Moments when we realize that our children are empowering one another and creating a positive impact. If only were as easy it sounds! ;-)
As a pre-kindergarten teacher, we try our best to model acts of kindness and recognize them publicly when we witness tender actions being taken by children in our school community. However, often it comes primarily from the staff members recognizing the students, not necessarily the students recognizing each other. This was the path that my TA & I were on until December of this year when I came across an old picture. It was a photo of six of my fourth grade students speaking in front of a school-wide PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) assembly. They held up a self-designed “SNI” logo, surrounded themselves with stacks of sticky notes and showcased smiles filled with pride and hope.
*SNI: Sticky Notes Incorporated. The idea that the kids were empowered to present to the school was one of student to student recognition. If you witnessed or experienced a random act of kindness, you were to jot it down on a sticky note and plop it onto the hallway walls. The goal being to cover the walls with kindness from end to end. And boy, did we do just that...and ensured a custodial nightmare for two weeks!
That memory challenged me. Yes, they were 10 year olds mindfully recognizing one another, but why couldn’t my 4 & 5 year olds try that, too? So we did. Shifting the ownership to the kiddos to cheerfully give and receive compliments took on a world of its own. Are they sometimes literal, such as “L told me that she likes my shirt,” and her pants, her shoes and her book bag...LOL. Of course they are! But they still make each other smile and they are purposeful moments created by being aware of the present.
As the days go on, the compliments and acts of kindness are gaining depth. Realizing that we were witnessing a true “snowball effect,” as new children joined in on creating moments of kindness each day, we don’t want to stop the descension on the snowy hill. There are still people to pick up along the way! With some basic white copy paper cut into circles and a bulletin board, our Mountain of Kindness is taking on an incredible slope of its own.
“Make an effort to live in cheerful kindness. When you are kind to others, you receive kindness in return.” ~Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
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I'm obsessed. This is fabulous. LOVE that you are doing this. The new way of being a student forces us to think outside the box and approach how we teach more dynamically.
~Derek, Father of 2 and Elementary School Principal
Just a girl with a dream to collectively build a healthy mind space for children, while creating a healthier mind space for ourselves.
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