Aguilar Elementary School Spreads Kindness
Kindness is one of the themes of the popular book for tweens and teens called “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio and the recent motion picture with the same name. “Wonder” is about a ten-year-old boy named “Auggie” with a facial deformity who enrolls in middle school after years of being homeschooled and the struggles he faced with bullying, friendships, and how he dealt with them. “Wonder” has sparked an aura that is simple, yet much needed in the world: “Be Kind.”
This simple concept is catching on in many of our schools in Tempe Elementary.
The Great Kindness Challenge is a program in partnership with Dignity Health that challenges schools to perform as many kind acts as they can in one week. The idea is that promoting acts of kindness around school, at home, and in your community gets kids and adults practicing a great habit so it becomes natural to them. “It’s free, easy, and it creates a culture of kindness in our school and in our community!” explained Aguilar School Counselor Kristen Dunn.
Aguilar Elementary celebrated Kindness Week January 22-26, 2018 with free hugs, high fives and fist bumps, kind letter writing, friendly photos, buddy reading, and other gestures of kindness the students and staff demonstrated to each other during recess, in the hallways, and in class. “Kindness Ambassadors” from Ms. Belousek’s, Ms. Trim’s and Ms. Gomez’s classes did an incredible job running the kindness booths and and being positive role models for spreading kindness.
The week started with a sign on the schoolyard fence that reads: AGUILAR - BE KIND - 2018 with two hearts among the words. Made from blue and red plastic cups, the simple sign reminds others as they drive by the school to BE KIND. All week, students earned red, white, and blue ribbons to tie onto the fence sign by demonstrating gestures of kindness.
A brightly colored bulletin board in the main hallway of the school reads: “Pledge Your Kindness” with “I pledge to myself on this very day to try to be kind in every way.” Students surrounded this reminder with post-it notes, where they have written their pledges to be kind, such as: “I pledge to love everyone,” and “I will pledge to be kind to everyone in need.” In the cafeteria, student-drawn kindness posters blanket the walls.
Spearheaded by Dunn, Kindness Week went better than she ever imagined. “Kids just loved it,” Dunn said. “We were really impressed with how it caught on with the kids. They even asked about continuing it for the rest of the year!”
On the Friday of their Kindness Week, Aguilar students gathered in the schoolyard before school to create a larger than life aerial message for their community. Watch the Aguilar Be Kind video.
Other Tempe Schools Participating in Kindness Activities:
Hudson Elementary is celebrating Random Acts of Kindness Week next week. Students are honoring the staff that usually don’t get celebrated, such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, instructional assistants, custodians, and front office staff with special surprises. Classes are playing Random Acts of Kindness bingo and random acts of kindness witnessed around the school will be recognized on the daily video announcements called Hawk Talk.
Fees College Preparatory Middle School’s Firebird Kindness Club is hosting a Random Act of Kindness Day on Valentine's Day during lunches. Students may turn in Golden Tickets (site-based positive tickets) in exchange for a Valentine's Day drawing to win a $5 Starbucks Gift card, or one of five Valentine-themed stuffed animals for each of the three grade levels, sponsored by their Kindness Club.
Frank Elementary is doing activities the whole month of February promoting kindness. They have Kindness Challenges daily during announcements, such as making a thank you card for someone. They also spelled out “Be Kind” in cups on their fence and the teachers are handing out yarn when they witness students doing kind acts and adding the yarn to the fence. They are also doing a kindness photo booth and giving hugs and high fives.
Frank staff is doing “cups of kindness,” where they buy each other drinks like coffee, soda, or jamba juice and then write that person a kind note. The notes then go up on a bulletin board for the students to see how the teachers and staff are spreading kindness to each other.
Fuller Elementary also participated in the Great Kindness Challenge the last week in January. They had a spirit week centered around kindness, had a kindness challenge checklist that students took home to check off kind acts they performed during the week, and collected money for “Kind Coins for Hurricanes” that ends tomorrow, February 9. Many teachers at Fuller also used kindness as a writing prompt in class. They will also celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day on Valentine’s Day.
Ward Traditional Academy is also having Random Acts of Kindness Week February 26-March 2, hosted by their student council. Events include placing encouraging notes around the school, promoting trash pickup around campus, and selling of candy grams to send to fellow students and teachers.
You, too, can join in the kindness challenge. “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – AesopNational Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17, 2018. How will you “Be Kind”?