MIDDLE SCHOOL KINDNESS CHALLENGE EXPANDS AND ANNOUNCES ITS NEW NAME AND BRAND
National Social Emotional Learning Program Expands To Include Elementary Schools And Make Thousands More Schools Kinder, More Welcoming Places For Children To Thrive
(PORTLAND) — The Middle School Kindness Challenge (MSKC), a program of Stand for Children, announced today that it would expand from its original mission of improving school cultures in the middle school grades to now impacting students and educators in elementary grades as well. With this broader approach, the MSKC will now be called Teach Kindness and will focus on taking its four-week challenge to strengthen school communities in thousands of more schools throughout the nation.
“While we set out to improve school climate in the critical middle school years of children’s development, we were hearing more and more that educators teaching children at the elementary levels were also seeking out our activities and engaging younger students,” said Jonah Edelman, President and CEO of Stand for Children. “The feedback and results coming out of participating schools, including those that were involving younger grades, has been so strong that we made the decision to expand, add custom content for elementary-age students, and create opportunities for kindness to be rooted in children earlier. With this expansion, our name had to change to better communicate our mission and where we seek to make a difference.”
The goal of the MSKC, now Teach Kindness, is to make kindness commonplace in schools and improve school climate by providing a no-cost, user-friendly platform for teachers to access high-quality, easy-to-implement lessons that help students strengthen peer relationships, build empathy, and develop a positive mindset. The content on kindness building comes from leading providers, including Harvard’s Making Caring Common Initiative, Facing History and Ourselves, InspirED, the Greater Good Science Center and Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence. All contributed their best-in-class lessons at no charge.
Under Teach Kindness, students take part in four weeks of activities and lessons that generated dialogue around the importance of demonstrating kindness in school and in life. Throughout the program, students learn to embody kindness and set out to improve their school culture by making it a safe and supportive place for all to thrive.
“In the nearly 700 schools that have successfully completed the challenge since its launch in 2017, teachers are demonstrating true dedication to making their schools safe and supportive places where children can thrive,” said Edelman. “Among the students, educators and communities involved in the Challenge, we see meaningful results. Bullies are reinventing themselves and children are learning that kindness is more powerful than meanness.”
The data in many schools that have completed the four-week challenge demonstrate that exercises that make up the program can transform the climate of a school’s community. In Guilford County, N.C. suspension and expulsion rates reduced in participating schools at impressive rates.
“More schools need to teach empathy in the classroom and make it a part of their culture. Teaching kindness moves the needle on student behavior. We encourage more educators to join this effort and achieve change,” said Edelman.
Registration for Teach Kindness’ Fall 2019 cycle opens on August 19. Additional information and registration details are available at the program’s new website: weteachkindness.org.