For many of our students, coming to school is the best part of their day. But that’s not the case for kids who are bullied.
My school strives to create an inclusive, safe learning environment, but the reality is that teachers and staff can’t be there for every exchange between students. That’s why we decided it was crucial to teach kindness in the classroom – so our students would learn the importance of treating others with respect, even when no one else was watching.
Bullying is on the rise in U.S. schools — especially in middle schools. Last school year, nearly 40% of middle school students reported being bullied. This has to change!
Our school accepted the Middle School Kindness Challenge last spring so that we could help students discover how easy and rewarding it is to be kind.
For the Challenge, we made our theme compliments. Teachers, staff, and community members nominated students seen displaying these acts of kindness, and every Friday, we shared these kind acts over the schoolwide announcements to praise students and to encourage more of this type of behavior.
Our students learned that compliments and kind words are such simple ways to brighten someone's day.
The Kindness Challenge had a profound and noticeable impact on our students: they were more respectful of each other, they willingly gave each other compliments, and we saw a reduction in behavior referrals. Most importantly, the students had a ton of fun.
With bullying reaching epidemic proportions, spreading kindness seems to be more important than ever before. I believe other schools will see the same benefits of both social-emotional and academic growth by bringing the Kindness curriculum into their classrooms.
To learn more about the Challenge and to find out how to register your school, visit kindnesschallenge.org.