You can just feel it when a school has made kindness one of their core values. Students seem at ease and the school’s environment is warm and welcoming.
I feel it at Palmer Elementary in Chicago where special education teacher Tracy Caronia’s positive post-it notes left for students light up their faces with pride. She sees the difference kindness makes for her students, especially the younger ones who, because of pandemic disruptions, are having their first “normal” school year ever.
And I feel it at Wagoner Elementary in Sauk Village. There, students created positive affirmation posters that are displayed on their lockers. These affirmations remind them every day that they have the power to be kind to others. Educators at Wagoner distribute anonymous Kindness Grams to each other – short notes of gratitude that create waves of positivity among the staff.
These schools have made kindness a part of their identity. They are building schools where everyone feels welcome, valued, appreciated, and seen. The results are amazing!
Teaching kindness makes an impact on students and educators alike. Up and down Illinois, schools have embraced the lessons of Teach Kindness and made a deep impact on their school communities.
I hope you will join them in making kindness part of your daily routine and spread the word that schools are more welcoming when they teach kindness.