Last term one of the rooms threw out a challenge to the families and children to become aware and engage in acts of kindness to others. This term we have expanded the challenge to trying to achieve 100 acts of kindness.
Why kindness? How do you define kindness?
Kindness is a concern about the wellbeing and feelings of others; a quality of being gentle, considerate, warm hearted and helpful to others. There are significant health benefits from being kind. It grows happiness and your body releases chemicals called endorphins which interact with the receptors in the brain and make you feel good. Being kind has been shown to slow ageing and improves relationships and connections to people. So, the challenge is to model acts of kindness and name them for the children and catch the children performing acts of kindness. In the Music room we have created rainbow hearts, and these are the acknowledgement of a kindness. We are on the hunt to reach our target and go beyond.
Did you know that kindness can be learned? It is a behaviour and can taught and learnt through repetition. Mirror neurons are cells in the brain that wire us for imitation, and they are especially active during childhood. That’s why we have to be careful what we say and do in front of children all the time. When children observe an action their brains respond as if they were performing the action themselves: they create new neural pathways and these are the basis for behaviours that become wired during their lifetime. Luckily for us the neuroplasticity of the brain means we can learn new behaviours, like being kinder.
Maybe you could take on the challenge in your family and have a way of recording the acts of kindness. There are lots of ways to support this challenge, and these are a few which might help to encourage more kindness:
- Send kind thoughts – say them out loud about a person they know
- Share stories of kindness
- Smile more often – smiling is contagious, and the smile can continue far and wide
- Play a compliment game – learning how to both give and receive a compliment is a great act of kindness and skill
- Practice random acts of kindness – anonymously draw a picture for someone, leave a flower on someone’s doorstep or bake some biscuits for another person – no one knows who did it but it will make the other person feel special.
As we come to the end of our online learning period, I’d like to sincerely thank a number of people who have made it all possible: Kylie Taig, who has steered the Canvas platform in the School and supported the ELC to get up and going – she has been amazing; Kerrily Jose in the Junior School has been a fantastic practical support to the ELC team of four online teachers for this term; and a heartfelt thanks to the ELC online team Harriet Cousins-Palmer, Megan Birt, Anna Lee and Bec Curtis who have developed and delivered the most wonderful weekly content for each room of the ELC.
Developing online learning for under 5s is a huge challenge. As the Canvas platform was not yet up and running when the school closed, it has been a huge achievement. There has been fabulous collaboration, creativity and imagination employed by the team, and we have all experienced a steep learning curve. The content has been in line with the onsite learning experiences, supporting literacy through Jolly Phonics, handwriting, maths and STEM skills, developing their music and fine art skills, exploring emotions and much more. We have developed and enhanced the resources available for children and parents during this time and this will remain.
Thanks also to the amazing onsite team as we welcomed a small number of essential workers’ children back to begin with a host of new hygiene measures in place to support everyone’s wellbeing. Over the weeks the numbers have grown, and the children have embraced the opportunity to be back in a familiar space. Sincere thanks to Robyn, Sheila, Deb, Kay, Anna, Julie, Alex, Sofia and Callie – truly an amazing job. We look forward to seeing more of you return next week.
Director of ELC Kew