When you think of school, you think of reading, math, science, and social studies. While academics play an important role in the development of young people, the teaching and modeling does not stop there.
What about the ability to communicate your feelings? To really listen to others? Have a sense of self-discipline and understand other points of view that you may not agree with? To sympathize with a diverse population? Social-emotional skills are often overlooked, but they can all be linked to kindness (and academic improvement).
According to the CASEL (Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning) study, 93% of teachers believe it is important to teach social and emotional learning, and teachers who have included social and emotional learning programs in their teaching saw an increase of 11-17%. in the academic performance of their students.
This is how the Cubs Kindness Club was born at the John G. Carlisle Elementary School Community Learning Center.
Karen Furnish, a fourth-grade teacher at JGC and a teacher involved in the after-school program, laid the groundwork for the club with fourth-grade students before expanding to other grades. Furnish believes that “teaching kindness is key to developing a positive and healthy culture within (John G. Carlisle Elementary School) that will reverberate in the community.”
Since the club’s inception, Furnish has seen students become role models. In fact, she says the club has helped typically introverted students, including many English Learners (ELs), become more outgoing and take on leadership roles.
The club is a pro-social approach to teaching students the skills to better communicate and collaborate, advocate for themselves, and actively call for positive behaviors and actions. Students involved with the Cubs Kindness Club have their own kindness badge that they wear throughout the day and “kindness” t-shirts that recognize them as a current member of the club. Students meet weekly after school to record the acts of kindness they have shared with their peers, staff and their community. Students also brainstorm and plan an activity that will promote kindness in the school building each week.
Club members make a difference at school by promoting what it means to be kind. It can be something as simple as telling a peer that they are doing a good job in class or using positive words when a peer is having a bad day. Regardless of the circumstances, it shows that a little kindness can go a long way.
“Teaching students what it means to be kind and having them lead by example is key to establishing a culture of love and caring,” says Furnish.
Students are currently gearing up for Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17. If you’re looking for ways to show random acts of kindness on this day (or any other day), here are some ways to be an honorary member of the Cub Kindness Club:
• 1 Buy coffee for the person behind you in line.
• 2 Post inspirational sticky notes in your neighborhood, office, school, etc.
• 3 Let someone go ahead of you in the queue that only has a few items.
• 4 Try to ensure that everyone in a group conversation feels included.
• 5 Write a nice message on your mirror with a dry erase marker for yourself, your loved one or a family member.
• 6 Send a gratitude email to a colleague who deserves more recognition.
• 7 Practice self-benevolence and spend 30 minutes doing something you love today.
• 8 While you are away, compliment a parent on how well their child has behaved.
• 9 Give a nice waiter the biggest tip you can afford.
•10 Email or write a former teacher who made a difference in your life.
Covington Partners is a non-profit organization that strives to bring together key community stakeholders including students, families, partner organizations, the Covington Public Independent School District, funders, staff, board members, mentors and volunteers all work to help the youth of Covington. succeed in all phases of their lives.