The beginning of term one at the start of a new year is always an exciting and sometimes a nerve wracking time for our children as there is plenty of catching up to do of old friends reconnecting and also we have many new friends start at kindergarten.
At Mairtown we place a lot of emphasis on creating an environment where new rangatira (leaders) are promoted to show kindness and manaaki (care), towards each other. Even though at the end of last year we had fifteen children transition to school this created a wonderful opportunity for other children to step up and show their kindness towards their friends especially our new children.
“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness”. William Arthur Ward
Kindergarten can sometimes be a busy place and when it is a completely new environment for a new child and their whānau it may seem a little overwhelming, this is where a little kindness goes a long way. The thing about showing kindness is that it doesn’t have to be big, it may start by giving someone a smile or maybe sharing kind words, or a small gesture which can change our mood and brighten our day bringing us closer to the giver. This is wonderful when building new connections as kindness is good for relationships and it seems that kind people are more empathic. Each act of kindness might seem small, but it’s actually changing the way we see ourselves, the way we see others and the way others see us.
“If we all do one random act of kindness daily we just might set the world in the right direction.” (Martin Kornfeld)
Since the start of this term I have been privileged to see many random acts of kindness and hear many comments amongst our children that just makes my heart sing, like; “Go like this then you can do it, yeah I’m so proud of you” “I can help fill that for you” “Here you can have two and I will have one” “Come on and play with me” “Here you can have my swing if you like” “She’s my new friend we have been playing inside” “Here I’ll put that away for you”.
“Kindness means you are concerned about other people. Kind people think about another person’s feelings … they help someone who is in need, and they are kind even when others are not. Kind people never expect anything in return. They just treat other people kindly because they want to help make someone’s life better. Kindness makes the world a nicer place, because it makes people happier”. (Dr. Michele Borba)
I know some people think kindness doesn’t matter compared to other important areas of learning for instance literacy and numeracy. I realise that kindness isn’t a curriculum area but actually I feel it should be as it is valuable skill, important for lifelong learning as well as wonderful way for children to start building relationships while making new friends. I think this quote sums it up nicely, “Don’t become preoccupied with your child’s academic ability but instead teach them to sit with those sitting alone. Teach them to be kind. Teach them to offer their help. Teach them to be a friend to the lonely. Teach them to encourage others. Teach them to think about other people. Teach them to share. Teach them to look for the good. This is how they’ll change the world.” (Collective Evolution)
When I noticed our children doing all these wonderful random acts of kindness we ended up talking about what kindness is or how we can show kindness to our friends, here is some of the discussion:Capri: “Be friendly”
Elsie: “Play with them. The other day I was helping my friend to swing himself. It’s nice to have a friend”
Aya: “When we have cuddles”
Raina: “To help people”
Noah: “When we take turns and play together”
Inura: “Pushing them on the swings. I have lots of friends. I gave my dinosaur toy to baby Evie. It made me happy”
Arlo: “Spinning them”
Inura: “Austin did a great job helping Zoey when she got hurt. He made her feel really special.
Tilly: “Maybe by telling them we love them, maybe we can play games that they want to play”
Isla: “Play with them”
Ella: “Be nice to them”
Tilly: “I’ve been pushing Fern, Ella and Isla on the swings”
Ella: “I asked Fern if she would like to have my dress”
There are many benefits for children’s learning and development especially their social literacy when they receive and share a little kindness and the best thing is that to give a smile or say some kind words is free and can make everyone feel so much happier.
“Everywhere you go, leave a glitter trail of kindness behind you”. Author Unknown
Mā te wāSusie