Why promote kindness in schools?
School is where most of our childhood is spent. For 38 weeks of the year we are children are in school. It is a big part of children’s growth and development, therefore it is important to make sure that the schools provide a positive environment. Teaching children about kindness once a while in an odd lesson, here and there does not promote kindness in children….it gives them awareness and knowledge that they need to kind. What is needed is a change in culture within schools so that kindness becomes a way of life in schools. By encouraging and creating an environment where kindness is encouraged and rewarded all the time it is will be easy to transform the learning experiences of young people.
The benefits of promoting kindness in schools are extensive because they will extend beyond school into home life as well. Kindness does not just benefit the person who is receiving it but also the person who is being kind so it is a win-win situation. Therefore when children are kind to each other they are all benefiting from the situation.
What are the benefits of kindness in the classroom?
Research A Guide to Intentional Kindness in the Classroom has shown that “Encouraging students to reflect upon and perform intentional acts of kindness develops perspective-taking, increased social membership, and a structured way of encouraging kindness within the school context.“
- Kindness is a key ingredient for better concentration and improved learning
This is every parent and teacher’s dream. Children who can concentrate and engage in learning in a way that improves their knowledge and understanding in school. This is something that happens when children feel good about being in school and being in a positive environment.
- Acts of kindness increase levels of serotonin in the brain which reduces depression
Kind Acts can positively alternate your brain. They boost serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that provide you emotional satisfaction and well-being. Endorphins are also released into the body and these act as the body’s natural pain killer. This then increases the feel good factor in children.
- Acts of kindness no matter how small create feelings of self-worth and belonging.
This spirit if kindness is the spirit of togetherness. When children are helped and supported by others they know they are not alone. We all know that children can sometimes feel lonely because they feel sad. It only takes that other child to go up to them and give them a hug for them to feel that sense of belonging. They know they are loved and they are special to someone.
- Acts of kindness increase energy and give a wonderful feeling of optimism.
According to a study by Dr. Lee Rowland a Research Associate at the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford and Dr. Oliver Scott Curry a Senior Researcher in the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford performing a range of kindness increases happiness. Who doesn’t want a happy child full of optimism?
- Kindness based programs in schools reduce the effects of bullying.
We all know about the “Big Bad Wolf” that looms around our schools and it has been there for generations. While it seems impossible that it will ever go away, the fact still remains that we need to reduce its impact on children’s well-being. My thoughts are that if children are encouraged and supported in developing kindness as a way of life then not only will bullying be reduced but it will ultimately be eradicated.