An activity all about kindness and thinking about how the little things we do can have a positive impact on others
Firstly, the science...
The science of kindness in supporting a school or kura environment to foster a sense of belonging among tamariki lies in its ability to positively impact social connections, emotional wellbeing, and overall school culture. Acts of kindness release neurotransmitters like oxytocin and serotonin, promoting feelings of trust, happiness, and connection. When kindness is emphasised and modelled by kaiako and peers, it creates a place where tamariki feel valued, accepted, and included. In turn, this sense of belonging enhances tamariki motivation to learn, promotes positive relationships with their peers, and contributes to a more empathetic and inclusive school community
Why this activity?
We were reflecting on tamariki quest or mission type games, where there’s an element of achievement and working together to get good deeds done! This is what our activity is focussed upon. Little kindness missions that spread some goodness into their world!
What to do
Start this activity with a kōrero around kindness. Ask tamariki to reflect on a time someone was kind to them. Ask them to think about how it made them feel.
You might choose to talk about how kindness supports us in creating a really positive environment at school or kura, helping us to feel like we belong. Feel free to use the prompts below:
Inclusion and Acceptance: Acts of kindness demonstrate acceptance and inclusion, making tamariki feel valued and accepted for who they are. When someone shows kindness towards us, it communicates that we belong and are an integral part of the community.
Building Connections: Kindness fosters connections and relationships with others. When others are kind to us, it creates bonds and strengthens our sense of connection with them and with the community as a whole. These connections contribute to a sense of belonging.
Creating a Positive Environment: Kindness contributes to a positive and supportive environment where tamariki feel safe, respected, and cared for.
Enhancing Self-Esteem: Experiencing kindness from others can boost self-esteem and self-worth. When we feel valued and appreciated, we are more likely to feel confident in ourselves and our place within the community.
Reducing Social Isolation: Acts of kindness help to combat feelings of loneliness and social isolation by fostering connections and building relationships. When we experience kindness from others, we are less likely to feel isolated and more likely to feel like we belong.
Promoting Empathy and Understanding: Kindness promotes empathy and understanding towards others' experiences and perspectives. When we are kind to one another, it creates a sense of empathy and compassion, which strengthens the bonds of belonging within a community.
Creating a Culture of Support: Kindness contributes to a culture of support and mutual care within a community. When we support each other through acts of kindness, it creates a sense of solidarity and belonging, where everyone feels like they have a place and are supported by others.
Cut out the kindness missions, fold the envelope and explain you’ve been given a top-secret mission to spread more kindness around, especially at school. Pick out a kindness mission each morning over the week, or beyond, and then work to get them done.
The secret is to not get caught! The kindness mission needs to remain top secret and if tamariki are complimented for any of their kind acts, they can’t reveal they’re on a mission! Reflect on the mission as part of your end of day kōrero and whether they’ve managed to keep their missions top secret! Also reflect on what they’re noticing (seeing, hearing, feeling) about their missions.
Encourage tamariki to try some of the kindness missions at home with whānau.
And to add to this...
An activity that supports tamariki to put this learning into action is Random Acts of Kindness Bingo. This activity will give tamariki an opportunity to both receive and give acts of kindness while thinking about how it’s making a difference for others.