“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead
Just imagine if our children learned this quotation and took its meaning to heart. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
I’m excited to have award-winning author, Maria Dismondy, with us today to share some of her favourite resources for teaching kindness in schools.
Maria inspires lives through her poignant stories about topics challenging today’s modern child. Maria’s background in early education and commitment to teach the importance of character building enables her to touch lives the world over while touring as a public speaker in schools, community forums, and at national conferences.
Maria’s eighth book, The Jelly Donut Difference, drives home the important message of generosity and kindness. When Maria isn’t writing, she can be found embarking on adventures throughout southeast Michigan and beyond, where she lives with her husband and three book-loving children.
Let’s hear what she has to say about teaching kindness in the classroom:
Why is kindness important to teach in schools?
Children learn and grow not just academically in schools but socially as well. Their daily interactions with classmates help shape them into the person they will become. Teaching them to handle social situations with empathy and kindness will add to their social situation tool kit, so that they can try problem solving this way in the future.
What difference do you see in classrooms that include lessons on kindness?
Classrooms have a sense of community and a greater understanding of respect when there are lessons on kindness presenting and kindness is also not just a lesson but an expectation.
5 Resources to Make Your Classroom Kinder
Virtual Visits (or live visits!)
School visits from a speaker like myself (children’s author) are a wonderful way for schools to hear important messages outside of their school teaching staff. Often times speakers share personal stories of kindness and empathy, as well as other themes in their books, to help children see how your character is important in daily interactions. I love virtual visits because schools with lower budgets who may not have the funds to afford the travel fees for a speaker, can often times make a virtual visit happen because there is such a difference in the cost.
Using books to teach important essential skills such as peace, love and kindness is an excellent indirect way to reach students with an important message. Often times, our direct lesson of teaching kindness can sound and feel like preaching to children. When they hear a story of a student who has experienced something in a story, they can relate it to their own lives. Here is a list of books to help you get started on choosing books that can teach lessons on kindness.
I have been finding lessons, activities and more from teachers and parents who post ideas on Instagram. Here are some of my favorite people to follow for their ideas on all things positive for kids!
I also find so many amazing ideas on Pinterest!
My kids and I enjoy this set of DVDs to promote kindness. I also think GoNoodle has a good variety of brain break videos to play at home or in the classroom that are focused around essential skills. I also love sharing short video clips that come across my feed on Facebook that provide REAL life examples of kindness. Here is an example.
Empowering Kids with Character Facebook Group
Facebook has a feature to create private groups. About a year and a half ago, I started a group for parents and educators who shared a similar goal; to teach and model character to the children in their lives. It’s a safe place where people can reach out about issues they are having with their children or classes and receive advice from people in the group (many of them are licensed counselors and parent educators). Our group Empowering Kids with Character is also a wonderful place to inspire each other. We share book ideas, crafts, games and much more to use in our homes to inspire essential skills like determination, kindness, empathy and forgiveness.
Thank you Maria for sharing all your fabulous resources! You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook for more great ideas.
What books, DVDs, websites or tools do you suggest for helping teach kindness in the classroom?
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