Elementary-school students in Haddonfield began their Random Acts of Kindness Week earlier this month, with each day focusing on a different theme such as “Work out your problems with kindness,” and “Be Kind to your mind.”
Although there were activities planned through the week – the project’s last day is Friday – some will continue throughout the month when each class gets a visit from a school guidance counselor, who will lead programs such as creating Kindness Grams for friends.
The kindness effort – a first for the district – also enables students to hear a story or watch a video on the theme and reflect.
The district began celebrating Kindness Week a few years ago after it learned of the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, a small nonprofit based in Denver. During the year, district schools also celebrate the Week of Respect and Peace Week – also known as School Violence Awareness Week – both mandated by the state and celebrated in October. The schools chose Kindness Week simply for fun.
But the topic was also a serious one.
“We just thought it was a really important topic for our kids,” said Amanda LoCicero, counselor at Elizabeth Haddon Elementary. “We think the week is a fun week: get them excited about it, obviously teach them about kindness. We want them to realize that small acts of kindness count and that’s how we build a stronger school culture, when we have our small kind acts and then more kind acts.
“That’s how we are working to develop a school culture full of kindness.”
The week coincided with Valentine’s Day on Tuesday and the 100th day of school the following day. National Random Acts of Kindness Day is Friday. Wednesday will feature a sock drive for donations to the Volunteers of America Delaware Valley.
LoCicero reflected on the value of such events.
“We think that’s a huge part of the curriculum …” she explained. “We think it’s super important for the students to not only develop their academic skills, but also (social emotional) skills, because we want them to be emotionally intelligent children.
“We want them to be problem solvers, we want them to be able to identify their emotions.’’
To learn more about the Random Acts of Kindness foundation, visit https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/.