“When you are kind to someone it feels really good because you are passing on how you feel to someone else. So, they then pass it around and then everyone has a really happy feeling.”
These words, from a pupil at Sudbourne Primary School in London, show how kindness can transform our experience of everyday life.
The children at Sudbourne are among tens of thousands of children learning about kindness through a free British Red Cross teaching resource.
Sharing the power of kindness is at the root of our work. Many schools also see kindness as an important value for children to learn so they are excited to be part of this new initiative.
Five acts of kindness: children can choose
“In this day and age, if children don’t leave school with the values of kindness and respect, then are we really setting them up to be ready for life in this world?” asked Gemma Quinn from Ladybarn Primary School in Greater Manchester.
She and other teachers use activities from the kindness teaching resource to encourage children to think about what kindness means to them. The children also consider what they are grateful for.
They go on to choose and carry out five kind acts during a month, learning how to be kind to themselves and sharing their kindness with others.
Chloe Withers, a teacher at Sudbourne Primary School added: “By focusing on kindness every day in December, it has helped kindness become second nature to many children … deepening and broadening their understanding of what it means.”
Kindness is contagious
Many of the children believe that kindness can be shared, which, in turn, inspires others to be kind.
“Kindness is happiness and if you spread it around everyone would be happy, so it’s like the butterfly effect,” a Sudbourne Primary School pupil said.
Children also recognised that kindness can have a positive impact on how someone may feel.
Many said that it brings happiness and can improve mental health as it makes both the giver and the recipient feel good.
Kindness in the community
Through the project, children were encouraged to share their learning and kindness with family and friends outside of school. Many schools thought this was an important element of the project.
Gemma from Ladybarn Primary School said: “Linking it in to families is important, so that it can continue to grow and spread kindness.”
Chloe added: “By encouraging kindness we are encouraging children to recognise their role in society and what they can bring to the world, to their family and to their friends.
“I think it really encourages the children and shows the impact that they can have on other people. It also helps build a strong community.”
Hard to imagine: a world without kindness
Many children couldn’t imagine a world without kindness.
“I don’t think the world could survive without kindness” said a Year 6 pupil at Ladybarn Primary School.
They went on to say that the world would be a miserable and unhappy place without kindness.
“I think kindness should be worldwide; it should maybe even be the law,” another pupil added.
“I think every school should adopt kindness, then the world would be perfect.”