Minnesota fifth graders are taking kindness into their own hands. When the school was faced with the tough challenge of promoting kindness among its fifth graders, teacher Mat Greenhoe decided to start by asking the kids what they thought they could do to make the situation better. One student, Ady Bollinger, had the idea to start a Kindness Club, and Greenhoe thought it might work! Giving the students the power to change the environment at school on their own turned out to be just what they needed.
The Kindness Club at Parker Elementary School has already started making a difference. During the holiday season, they made sure each student received a candy cane with a note from the Kindness Club. Another kind act saw the students put notes into lockers of students with special needs. To go even further, they’ve made a slideshow about kindness to share and are putting on a play about a girl who is bullied based on the book “Stop.” The club has also started collecting reports of random acts of kindness that are then shared during school announcements.
With the national average of 49 percent of students in grades 4-12 reporting being bullied at least once per month, the Kindness Club is a welcome opportunity to give students a place to belong. The Good News Network reports that, “Club members feel they have made a difference and said there is less bullying going on at Parker. In fact, there are fewer students using the Buddy Bench, a specially designated bench on the playground where students can sit if they are feeling alone and want to be invited to play with others.”
With a new welcoming atmosphere and a platform for kids to help other kids, the fifth graders at Parker Elementary School are hoping that the Kindness Club becomes a tradition for the fifth-grade class, as the founders of the club will be moving on to middle school next year.
Let’s follow the lead of the Parker Elementary School fifth graders and promote kindness in schools. Talk to the kids in your life about how they can make their school a kinder, more welcoming place for everyone.