Teaching kindness within early childhood is fundamental for each and every child’s development. This can be fundamental for children. It sets a great example when kindness is shown by early years educators and parents/family. It shows children positive behaviour and the impact being kind has on someone’s day. For example, a child may feel a little shy when joining in on activities. Another child inviting the child into the activity shows kindness. This will also enable the child to have a good day/make their day. This may be continued by that child talking about the kindness the child showed them.
Kindness may include teaching the child to help other children to tidy up at home time in an activity they were maybe not involved in. This shows compassion for the other children and great kindness. Kindness doesn’t have to be something BIG, it is the little things each and every one of us do each day. As shown in the examples above. Kindness empowers each and every one of us but especially young children. It gives children the freedom to be kind in every day life when shown kindness.
Children not being kind to their peers can fundamentally stay in a child’s mind into their youth and further along. Kindness helps children to ensure the wellbeing and needs of others. The early years educator may cover the topics of social and emotional skills. This may include talking about these skills , activities or videos showing these skills.
Children remember kindness in teenage years, adulthood and forever. This gives inspiration that kindness is always remembered and impacts on children’s lives. Being kind empowers children and every child within the environment and world. Teach children to sprinkle kindness around the world and empower each other. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible” – Dalai Lama.
Kindness Art and Activities:
- A handprint from each child decorated and turned into a kindness heart with kindness written in the middle. This could also be used as each child’s hand decorated and joined together along the room.
- Discussing with the children what kindness looks like and making a kindness wall with what the child thinks kindness looks like. This may include, smiling, encouraging a friend, being happy for others, offering to help, listening when someone speaks, etc.
- Making a kindness Muriel either indoors or outdoors using drink caps with kindness written in the middle.
- Kindness stones were each child decorates and a kind word is written individually on each on. They may be around the preschool, school or in the local community. The stone could then be hidden again by whom finds it. This involves community interaction.
- Kindness book marks. This may include each child making their own book mark of kindness and each child giving their bookmark to another child.
- Acknowledge kindness that children show within the service, classroom or at home.
- Creating scenarios that enables the child to think about kindness. E.g. questions such as if only one child can play with ….at a time how would we ensure everyone can play with the ….
- Explaining how sharing is caring and being kind. Creating a story with the children in the classroom within the story. E.g. pictures
- A Bee kind sheet were each child writes or draws two examples of kindness.
- A kindness box in the service, classroom or at home were a child’s act of kindness is written down and out into the box. One or two picked each week and a little reward such as can play with a favourite area for certain length of time.
- When child comes home from early childhood service or school ask them two ways in which they were kind today.
- Show the child examples of kindness around practice or school. E.g. Child A helped Child B tidy up the lego corner
- Discussing fairy tales. For example Cinderella’s sisters were unkind. This can be a perfect opportunity to explore kindness with young children and explore why the step sisters were unkind and what the children may do differently. This could include how Cinderella looks in the pages when her stepsisters were unkind.
- A kindness story.