During the 12th annual "Great Kindness Challenge," students at Bird Rock Elementary School in La Jolla are learning about the impact of good deeds.
The challenge is a weeklong undertaking by schools worldwide from January 23–27 to combat bullying and promote connection, inclusiveness, happiness, and compassion. It was founded in 2012 by the Carlsbad, California–based nonprofit Kids for Peace.
The Great Kindness Challenge at Bird Rock Elementary started on January 23 with students using chalk to "decorate the entire campus with either phrase about kindness or drawing pictures that help them feel happy," according to Jessica Donovan, co-president of the Bird Rock Foundation and parent chair for Kindness Week.
For the week, children were given a checklist of actions and gestures to practice, such as grinning at 25 people, assisting a teacher, reading a book to a younger kid, giving a high-five, picking up rubbish, and sitting next to a stranger at lunch.
Additionally, according to Donovan, there are school-wide events like constructing a paper chain of encouraging words and sending cards to veterans and senior homes.
The Great Kindness Challenge is something that Bird Rock Elementary has taken part in for the past four years. The kids always seem to love it, according to Donovan, the mother of a third-grader and a kindergartener, who has participated in it since her family first enrolled at the school.
According to Donovan, her children's positive energy spreads when they "saw how they can make somebody else smile, it makes them feel better."
According to Donovan, a nice act can "turn the switch" and end the negative cycle for a child who is having a poor day and "doesn't know how to come out of that funk themselves."
According to her, pupils at Bird Rock Elementary "enjoy being able to express themselves" via deeds of kindness.
According to Ali Nieblas, a kindergarten teacher, their enthusiasm for Kindness Week stems from "their love of being nice by helping others [and] hope they will make a lot of friends."
One of Kim Williams' third-grade students told her that the Kindness Challenge from the previous year taught him that "being kind is the right thing to do." Be kind and loving to people, not angry and hateful. Kindness is a universal cure-all.
According to Williams, "Kindness Week merely raises awareness about how potent kindness can be, what it looks like to be kind, and how even the tiniest deeds and words can have the largest impact on the social and emotional happiness of all human beings."
She said, "We shouldn't have to think about being kind. It ought to be simple, automatic, and all-encompassing.”
Kids want to conduct good deeds when given the opportunity, according to Donovan. "We must offer them those opportunities. It becomes a little more natural for them to continue once they discover how amazing it makes them feel.”
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