We’ve been talking a lot about our Thanks and Appreciation Tool this year in kindergarten, so what better way could there be to cultivate a caring and empathetic mindset than by recognizing and appreciating the people around us?! That’s how Thankful Thursdays was born…and I was blown away by how effective it has been in cultivating this mindset of appreciation. Not only has it helped the kindergartners build connections and relationships with members of our community, but it has also encouraged them to notice people around us doing important work – taking care of books in our library, fixing the leak in our ceiling, working hard to teach us math, helping wash our dirty dishes, etc.
And then over winter break I read the book Unselfie. The book teaches about the many layers to fostering a caring and empathetic mindset in children. I was struck by the notion that simply doing kind things ultimately helps you see yourself as a kind person, and seeing yourself as a kind person makes you more likely to do kind things. In a way, it seemed so simple.
Around the same time that I read Unselfie, many of the teachers I follow on Instagram were sharing and posting about their students becoming Kindness Ninjas and spreading messages of kindness, thanks, and love throughout their schools and communities. The timing seemed perfect, so we decided to give it a try. Could having kids consciously do kind things impact the way they see themselves – as true doers and spreaders of kindness?