I’m a large advocate for teaching children gratitude, tolerance, kindness and positivity as I believe that these character traits will take them far in their lives.
As an educator I’m also aware that some children may not be hearing these lessons daily.
As a parent I know that what I teach my children in their formative years will stay with them long into adulthood.
Three years ago I had a very challenging class of 4 to 5 year olds. They were busy, loud and many of the children acted out with each other.
Every day was a new battle to try and get them to be nice to each other, to share, to be kind, and I found myself disciplining much of the time just to keep the classroom in order.
After a particularly stressful day I remember coming home wondering how I could change the negative patterns in my classroom and I remembered a time my own 6 children were not in sync with each other and I’d started introducing a morning circle to our homeschool lessons where each of them needed to take a turn to list one thing they were grateful for and one thing they liked about each other.
This had worked at home and I decided to give it a try.
That evening I went outside, grabbed a stone from the yard, added some glitter glue to it and put it in my bag.
The kindness stone
The next morning after our afternoon nap I sat the children in a circle and introduced the magic kindness rock to them.
I explained I’d been given the rock by the kindness fairy and we were going to use it to say something that we enjoyed about the day.
The children were super excited and couldn’t wait to share. Each one holding onto the little painted stone as if it really was magic.
We would change the topic for discussion daily.
*what makes you happy
*say something nice about the friend sitting next to you
* what made you smile today
*what did teacher Judy do today that made you glad
*why do you like sunshine
*what is your favourite thing to do at school
*what made you sad today
*who made you happy today and why
Over the next few weeks I learnt more about my pupils hearts and they learnt important lessons.
They learnt ….
*to take turns talking.
*that someone cares enough to listen
*they are important
*how to express emotion
*to be greatful
*that not everybody likes the same things
*to say nice things about each other
*that kindness is important
*to listen yo others
*that school is fun
It was just a simple garden stone but it opened up a whole new way for my class to express themselves, and improved the overall behaviour of my classroom.