Choosing Kindness

School-age 2

Summer is near and with that the long school year is also ending. At RisingOaks | John Sweeney the School Age 2 children have been spending this month reigniting their passion for empathy, kindness and friendship. Sometimes it can be easy to forget those core values, but together we can hold each other accountable to make good choices and to choose kindness.

As the children begin to grow, their empathic abilities grow with them. According to Psychology Today “empathy is a work-in-progress throughout childhood and adolescence and is shaped by a range of factors”. One of these factors include modeling empathy which the educators of School Age 2 strive to achieve every day. Another way we can model empathy is by providing activities for the children that evolve around empathy, kindness and friendship.

The first activity provided to the children is one that our educator Jaden experienced when she was a child. The children wrote their names on the middle of a piece of paper and laid it out on the tables around the classroom. The children of School Age 2 then walked around and on each person’s paper they wrote something that they like about that person. The children were extremely enthusiastic about being able to do something kind for their peers. Dami wrote on Maria’s page that Maria was a great big sister to her brother Theo. Jaxson wrote on Jeremiah’s page that he was good at Lego! On Nico’s page Mira let him know that she thought he was very funny. After everyone was done leaving their notes they collected their page with their name on it. The smiles on the children’s faces as they read what the others wrote about them said it all. Not only do activities like the one above promotes skills such as empathy, but other skills such as self-esteem, friendship, and literacy. This activity also fosters belonging in our program which is one of the four foundations of the How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years which is an important document detailing the way to achieve active learning in children.

The next activity offered to the children of School Age 2 was a sit-down discussion. It is important to get the input of all the children when discussing core values such as kindness and friendship. Jaden asked the children what kind act they saw, did, or that someone did for them that day to see how they experience kindness in their everyday lives. Maria was excited to share how an older girl played with her during recess and showed her some new gymnastic moves. Jaxson was excited to share how his teacher gave him a good grade and that he has been teaching Lucas P how to play soccer. They willingly participated in the discussion, excited to talk and share their daily doses of kindness with Jaden. Open discussions such as these not only bring to light the importance of kindness and what it means to us, but helps to foster community amongst the children and educators of School Age 2 which in turn fosters friendships.

Along with our discussion about the kindness in their lives we have implemented a new routine where the children of School Age 2 get to share before snack. This allows for whomever is sharing that day to build skills like self-esteem while connecting with the other children. River bravely shared a stuffed animal that she had since she was a baby which prompted the other children to share with River about their own baby toys or blankets. The very next day Maria proudly showed off and talked about her stuffed animal that she had since she was a baby. This sharing time in our class allows for the children to strengthen their bond and friendships with their peers.

Kindness, empathy and friendship are learned and fostered with activities like those above. Sometimes we all need a reminder in order to reignite the spark for those core values. The children of School Age 2 | John Sweeney show great capabilities in kindness and will no doubt continue growing that skill set throughout their lives.

large group sharing

group sharing


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