Are you thinking about bringing the 21 Day Kindness Challenge to your school, but concerned that it might take too much time or effort? The 21 Day Kindness Challenge is easy to run and effective.
Easy Implementation & Continuous Support
The Kindness Challenge is simple to plan, easy to run, and makes a huge impact! Visit our website to see how you can make an impact at your school. We have something for everyone! We offer age appropriate programs for every educational level: elementary, middle, and high school programs, as well as our cost-effective classroom program.
Be the Change: Bring Kindness to Your Campus!
During any given week children spend more time at school than they spend at home; that gives schools the awesome responsibility to create an environment that emulates family. A place where they are loved and encouraged. A place where they learn to be kind, caring, respectful and engaged.
How do we create a school environment where children feel like they are loved and encouraged, and how do we teach them to be kind, caring, respectful and accepting of differences? Here are five secrets to help you get started on creating a kinder school campus:
Create opportunities to talk. Sit with your students when they are on their snack break or lunch break. Families engage in conversation around the dinner table, so why not use this special time to establish relationships with your students? Create table topics or buy pre-made TABLETOPICS Best Things Ever: Questions to Start Great Conversations (there are several options on Amazon) and have teachers, principals, and staff sit with students during lunch time or breaks. Watch the magic happen! Think of this as an icebreaker that will allow you and your students to develop a stronger connection and open the door for deeper conversations in the future. When this transformation happens, it is important to remember, to be honest, clear, and open.
Encouragement of individuality.
Children, no matter what age, want to be seen, and feel like they belong. Encourage your students to “show off” their uniqueness; all the while cultivating a sense of belonging. This will help build a stronger school community. There are several ways to allow your students to “show off” their uniqueness. At your next staff meeting come up with a list of monthly activities that you can do on campus. Here is one to get you started: at the beginning of the school year give out a whole school homework assignment. Ask every student to create a poster-board with an attached (recent) photo of them that says, ‘What Makes Me Unique.’ When posters are complete, hang them throughout the school.
Commitment to the School.
Create a strong allegiance by creating a team environment. From buddy classes to pep-rallies, make sure everyone feels like they are an important part of the whole. Think win-win when devising a ‘team spirit’ plan for this coming school year. Tell good stories about overcoming challenges, teamwork, togetherness, and toughness. A great resource for these stories is the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series. Our suggestion: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive: 101 Inspirational Stories about Counting Your Blessings and Having a Positive Attitude.
Developing a value system and moral code for your school will ensure you are on the road to success. Governing your school community by an agreed-upon and known set of values or principles is essential. Work with your students, staff and parents to come up with a list of principles and then write your moral code together. Prominently display the code and value system on campus and refer to your values when making decisions. Ensure you and your students are upholding your school values by creating weekly advisory classes for all students (mix grade levels) and do activities that coincide with your school values.
Connect with others in your community and other neighboring schools. Invite community members to participate in school events such as talent shows or festivals. Encourage grandparents or the retired community members to read stories to younger students, invited community members to an after school or weekend class on a subject they are passionate about, celebrate community members such as police officers and firefighters. Create a community outreach plan and work with your PTA on the details.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Creating a kinder school and a more inclusive environment will take time. Like with any larger undertaking, creating a kinder campus will take hard work, strong leadership, enthusiasm, and dedication.
Let us know.
Share with us how what steps you are going to take to ensure your campus promotes kindness by commenting on this blog post or by sharing on our social media channels Facebook and Twitter.
We have five book picks for the month of August!! We know school is about to get real for you all and so we wanted to equip you with some books that will surely aid you with your goals of creating a kinder, more inclusive campus.
We’ve chosen books for all grade levels from pre-k to high school. These books will allow you to open the dialogue about kindness. Please let us know what your students thought of these books. Happy Reading!
As summer transitions into fall and students head back to school, many are looking ahead towards college admission requirements and submitting applications. They are readying their quiver of accomplishments in order to meet the stringent requirements necessary for acceptance into the college or university of their choice. As they prepare their schedules and fill their days with academic success and athletic prowess, students may want to also consider doing something kind for their neighbor, help the homeless, volunteer at a local animal shelter, or any other altruistic action that makes a difference for other people and makes them feel good.
Harvard Study Supports Being Kind
A new study from Harvard shows that being kind may be just as important to college admissions departments as doing well academically and athletically. The study, Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions, advances a new, widely shared vision for college admissions. It makes the case that college admissions can send compelling messages that both ethical engagement—especially concern for others and the common good—and intellectual engagement are highly important. The report states that the admissions process should value concern for others and the common good and describe what kinds of service, contributions, and engagement are most likely to lead to responsible work, caring relationships, and ethical citizenship.
The report offers three specific recommendations for college admissions:
The team at 21 Day Kindness Challenge applauds these new recommendations!
The 21 Day Kindness Challenge is making a difference! So far, the challenge has resulted in more than 180,000 acts of kindness. We have had more than 27 schools participate. We survey our schools before and after each 21 Day Kindness Challenge. Students, teachers, administrators, and parents agree the 21 Day Kindness Challenge is making an incredible difference for their schools.
The 21 Day Kindness Challenge encourages students, teachers and staff members to perform five acts of kindness every day for 21 school days. The 21 Day Kindness Challenge is a proactive response to bullying that emphasizes positive interactions occurring on campus. As a result, attention is taken away from bullying behaviors and negative interactions.
Studies have proven that teaching kindness in schools is critical to the emotional, physical and mental well-being for children. Teaching kindness in schools has been reported to have the following benefits:
"Kindness changes the brain by the experience of kindness. Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness is best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it. - Patty O’Grady, Ph.D.
Source: Patty O’Grady, Ph.D., an expert in neuroscience, emotional learning, and positive psychology
To see how the 21 Day Kindness Challenge can make an impact at your school, view our store.
Kindness and compassion are built into who we are; it is a part of our human nature according to Dacher Keltner, psychology professor at UC Berkeley. Keltner’s research shows humans are wired to be kind and compassionate. Watch this TedTalk to find out more about Kelther’s research findings.
Charlie Millar leads by example, speaks from the heart, and spreads kindness in all that she does. As the mother of five children, a youth leader, an active volunteer, and school yard duty, Charlie touches the lives of hundreds of students in her community. Children are drawn to Charlie’s down-to-earth approach and warm and caring personality.
Charlie knew she wanted to be the Kindness Coach at
Rio del Mar Elementary (Rio) as soon as the opportunity presented itself.
“Rio had participated in the 21 Day Kindness Challenge in the past, and I had seen the positive impact on my kids and the kids in our community. I saw what a difference the Kindness Challenge made at our school. I was extremely excited to continue the program."
Charlie worked with a group of students involved in the school's leadership program to coordinate the 21 Day Kindness Challenge at Rio del Mar. As a yard duty, Charlie was able to set up Kindness Projects during recess with help from her leadership group.
Doing the kindness activities and projects during recess worked really well at Rio. They had more than 100 students participate in each project doing it that way.
“Being a yard duty was perfect. We see the kids all the time, we engage with them during their breaks, and really know what issues they are dealing with.”
Charlie said that a librarian, classroom aid, resource teacher or engaged parent invested in the campus would also make ideal Kindness Coaches, in addition to classroom teachers.
There was a leadership group already in place on campus, and Charlie encouraged these student leaders and other kids who wanted to be involved to plan and implement the Kindness Challenge at Rio. She worked with classroom teachers to identify student leaders who could help and benefit from the program. Charlie said it was important that she also included students who don’t always get involved. She encouraged older students to support and mentor younger students, and felt that was very successful.
“At our school, the longevity of the program is a really big deal. I am so glad we do it year after year. It gets easier every year, and kids look forward to advancing their leadership roles as they move up in grades. Plus, the more times we do it, the bigger impact it has on our campus.
The 21 Day Kindness Challenge brings unity to our school. That is huge!”
Charlie said that repeating the program is imperative because the foundation of kindness is being built over time. Some students have even asked if they could do it twice in one school year.
Using her leadership group, Charlie said planning for the 21 Day Kindness Challenge was remarkably easy. She said building up her leadership team and empowering them to feel successful in what they are doing truly made a difference.
Charlie loves the difference that the 21 Day Kindness Challenge makes at Rio. She said the students and teachers all had a great response to the program, they talk about the importance of being kind, ask questions and really look for ways to be kind. Charlie said she loved seeing the students spreading kindness beyond campus, too. She said when they made posters to hang up around campus, the students got very excited and started making them for everyone they knew.
“It was so sweet that they went above and beyond, it really spread the Kindness Challenge into our homes and into our community.”
Charlie said she saw a big change on campus thanks to the 21 Day Kindness Challenge. Among the younger students, she said she noticed lots of students wanting to help more, including others, being aware of each other, and talking about kindness. For the older students she saw more physical acts of kindness – picking something up that had been dropped, helping a peer who had fallen. She also loved the way the program includes everyone on campus – students, teachers, administrators, staff. She also noted that the Kindness Challenge was an excellent way of bringing the resource classes closer to the mainstream population. The resource students were able to connect on a personal level with all of the students on campus through a school-wide event and activity.
Charlie is an inspiring mother, volunteer, staff member and community leader. Thanks to her efforts, Rio del Mar Elementary recorded more than 9,500 acts of kindness this year! We hope her story encourages you to spread kindness in your school and community!
Whether a student is coming to your school for the first time or they are advancing to a new grade, it is important to help everyone start off on the right foot. The beginning of a new school year is a great time to start something new by encouraging community and create a culture of kindness by getting everyone involved.
Two fun DIY kindness projects that will surely engage your students, teachers and staff in creating a culture of friendship, kindness, and excitement.
The Buddy Bench
You may have heard about the buddy bench movement; Christian Buck is one of the pioneers for the buddy bench moment in the U.S. Bucks presented a TedTalk back in 2014 about being a new student and how it was hard for him to make friends. He was feeling lonely, and so Bucks found a solution. Thus, the Buddy Bench was created. You can read more about Bucks in this Washington Post article: Kids don’t have to be lonely at recess anymore thanks to this little boy and his ‘buddy bench’
Build it, Buy it or Deem it.
There are several ways to create a buddy bench on your campus. You can build one from the ground up, buy one or deem a current bench a buddy bench. Get creative and make it inviting for all!
Create a list of questions.
Wherever you decide to put your buddy bench, we suggest you offer tools to help students engage in conversation by creating a list of questions they can ask one another. You can laminate the questions and attach them to the buddy bench.
Here is a list of questions you can use:
- Who is your teacher?
- What are some of your favorite foods?
- What kinds of games or sports do you like to play?
- What is your favorite book?
- What book would you like to read?
- What is your favorite movie?
- Do you have a brother or sister?
- How many people are in your family?
- Do you have any animals at home?
- If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
- What do you like doing when you are not at school?
- If you are new our school, tell me about your other school.
- What is your favorite TV shows?
- What is your favorite video game or App?
Take a Seat & Make a Friend Ball Pit.
This kindness project would be perfect for middle school and high school campus’. Take a seat & make a friend ball pit is a fun way to get students talking to one another. SoulPancake Street Team mission was to encourage people of New York to make friends with a total stranger. Check out their YouTube video: Take a Seat, Make a Friend.
Build it, Buy it & Place it.
If you are (or know) a carpenter then you can build your Make a Friend ball pit. Otherwise, you can simply create the same effect by using a kiddie pool. We suggest you place your ‘make a friend ball pit’ in the quad or other prominent location that students, teachers, and staff walk through.
Create a few questions.
Write a few conversation starter questions on balloons or bigger bouncing balls to help break the ice. Encourage students, staff and teachers to join in the fun! Empower your student leadership group or student club members by asking them to be the first to start participating.
Here is a list of questions you can use:
- Find something you have in common.
- What teachers do you have this year?
- What freaks you out more heights or spiders?
- What are two things on your bucket list?
- If you could visit any country, which one would you visit?
- If you had a million dollars to give to any charity, which one would you give it to and why?
- What is your passion?
- Would you rather play a sport or create art?
- What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
- Who do you get along with more… your mom or dad?
- What would you say your best quality is?
Lay the foundation.
Create an environment of togetherness from day one. Breakdown the social cliques and encourage students to get to know others on campus. The more experiences people can create with others the stronger the connection.
Let us know.
Share with us which project you are going to do on your campus by commenting on this blog post or by sharing on our social media channels Facebook and Twitter.
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Note From the Founder
Hello. I am the founder of the 21 Day Kindness Challenge Program.