Mary Bryant Elementary recently became a kindness certified school through the national organization Kids For Peace.
In order to accomplish this, students participated in “The Great Kindness Challenge.” During this school-wide event, kindergarten through second grade students had to complete at least five challenges, for example, smiling at someone, learning someone else’s name or picking up trash around the campus. Third through fifth graders had to complete a minimum of 10 challenges, such as complimenting five people, making a wish for a child in another country or making a new friend. “It’s a national campaign to spread community and school kindness,” said Ms. Jessica Zavatsky, school counselor at Bryant. “It’s starting the foundation to build a culture of kindness. It’s the building blocks really, to get the students to start thinking about others.”
Aside from the Great Kindness Challenge, Mary Bryant puts in a lot of effort to do kindness activities all year long. Kindness books are read to the students, quotes are read on the morning show daily (some of the quotes written by students) and the National Elementary Honor Society does service projects year-round.
Another activity the school participated in was making “kindness rocks.” Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Cheryl Kloehn introduced the idea and it was made school wide by Ms. Zavatsky. Mrs. Kloehn posted a request for 1,000 rocks on donorschoose.org and painted each rock with her kids Sean and Ali. Every student was given a rock they could decorate with positive quotes and drawings, and all of the rocks were placed in a rock garden on campus. Children could give others a kindness rock to cheer them up (or just for no reason). “It makes me feel so good,” said Ms. Zavatsky, who was even given a kindness rock by a student.” It’s rewarding to feel like some students are really taking your message and applying it to their life. If what I do can touch one student, I’ve done my job.”
Not only can Mary Bryant be kindness certified, but so can other schools! Go to KidsforPeaceGlobal.org and register. It’s very easy to do. The organization will then email you an entire tool book full of songs, activities and countless other resources.
By Sophie Farnan
Sophie Farnan is a fifth grader at Mary Bryant Elementary.