This week, the theme of kindness as a culture was promoted by offering the kids opportunities to give each other compliments - to think from the heart, to write them down, and to present them to each other. Devoting classroom time to this type of activity sends a message to kids that we feel noticing strengths is a valid component of education. Further, the exercise offered the chance to truly FEEL what it’s like to be noticed and appreciated by others - and to reflect on that feeling, both in the giving and in the receiving. Most obviously, the smiles that the activity induced were worth a thousand words - a visceral moment of trust, safety, and sense of belonging. I find it so amazing to think how little it takes to make each other smile, and how in the competitiveness and sheer busyness of our lives, we sometimes forget to take the time. How can we do better at noticing and bolstering others as a priority in our daily lives? You can see the kids and read some of their complements as depicted on the bulletin boards in school - near the nurse’s office and in the guidance wing. As we begin to discuss the neurobiology of our brains, it is important for children to recognize what we are learning from within - to note the legitimacy of our feelings and the power they can have over us and our decision making and our mindsets. Next week, as we explore the different sides of the brain’s anatomy (right, left, and corpus callosum), there will be an inner context to the lesson - and the hope that not only are we learning about our brains, we are building a kindness culture within our school and within our greater community.
Julie Bassi, Ph.D.