Kindness, empathy, acceptance: things we expect students to know and understand, yet we don’t always take the time to teach. At one of my schools there is a multicultural committee, which has taken on an initiative this school year to promote kindness every day in school in a creative way. They have challenged the students, staff, parents, and families to 180 days of kindness. Here is an introduction:
“There are 180 days of school each year and we are challenging you to be kind each and every day. Each day you will learn about a new way to be kind, you will learn about different customs from around the world, and/or you will learn something new each day about how to be kind. How to be kind to yourself, how to be kind to others, and even how to be kind to our world. WE hope that you take us up on our challenge and tht by the end of our 180 days together, this school and community will be the kindest ever! Some days it may be easy, some days could be a bit more challenging, but either way, it is so worth it–love and kindness need to win! So, let’s begin….”
Power point slides are shared so that teachers can promote it in their classes and handouts are sent home for parents to promote at home. Here are a few of my personal favorites…
Day 2: Make new Friends— There is a Jewish sayig that says, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other is gold.” A good way to make a new friend is by smiling at someone and saying, “My name is ___. What is yours?” Then, you can look for similarities between you.
Day 6: Dance for Joy— The continent of Africa practically shakes form the rhythm of dancing feet! The Ga people of Ghana dance during a month-long festival called Homowo (how-MOH-woh_. Long ago, the Ga suffered from hunger during a famine. The following year when the harvest was in, they recalled the hard times by mocking them with dance. Who knows, maybe dance can help people get over rough spots! Try dancing to let off steam when you’re angry, or to relax before you have something difficult to do. And, when the worst is over, you can dance for joy!
Day 16: Learn a new greeting to say hi to someone–In France, children regularly shake hands with one another. A Korean child would be honored to shake the hand of an adult but would usually bow or nod their head. Instead of saying, “Good morning”, both Koreans and Somalis ask, “Have you been in peace during the night?” Most Hindus use the Namaste gesture when they greet each other. They place their palms together as though in prayer and nod their heads slightly while saying “Namaste”.
Day 32: Native American Day–This day is set aside to honor and celebrate Native Americans, the first Americans to live in the US. Still commonly referred to as Indians, the term “Native Americans” has been used in recent years as a sign of respect and recognition they they were, indeed, the first people to populate our great and wonderful nation. By the time the first explorers and seettlers arrived from Europe, Native Americans had populated the entire North American continent, from the ATlantic to the Pacific, and from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to the nortern reaches of Canada. You are encouraged to spend this day learning about Native Americans–the tru original settlers in America!
I think this is a wonderful way to promote kindness and teach acceptance of other cultures. If you would like access to the materials, you can contact the Multicultural Committee chair, a 5th grade teacher at my school who authored this project.
Thanks for reading!