Kindness is a “benevolent and helpful action intentionally directed toward another person. Kindness is often considered to be motivated by the desire to help another…” (APA Dictionary of Psychology, 2014). Working from this definition, we can see that kindness takes action, and it often takes courage. As an action, kindness may show up as a comforting hug, encouraging words, a helpful or generous act, or a friendly smile. Ironically, although kindness is all about giving to others, the givers of kindness often benefit the most.

Children who are kind will develop empathy, connectedness and resilience. By modeling and teaching kindness, students will know that it matters to us and it will lead to a healthy and compassionate culture in the classroom and beyond. Research shows that adult actions promoting kindness in a school help increase students’ motivation for engagement and learning. Acting with kindness sparks children’s physical and emotional well-being. Bodies and brains become stronger through kindness by stimulating the vagus nerve, promoting a stronger sense of calm, connectedness, and purpose. Additionally, kindness activates specific regions of our prefrontal cortex – the same regions of the brain that are associated with emotions. Students who are kind can better manage their emotions to navigate the ups and downs of life.

Teach children kindness. In our Kindness Unit, students will learn valuable concepts and skills to better care for themselves and others. Kindness is a key component of positive psychology, in which we focus on strengths to promote resilience and well-being of the mind and body. Tapping into the latest brain research, this unit will teach students how to coach their own brains fostering courage, confidence and connection leading to strong learning outcomes, meaningful relationships and the resilience to handle the life’s bumps. The kindness unit contains five lessons, each lasting 30-45 minutes in length, that you may choose to give all in one week or to spread out. There are also supplemental activities that you may use concurrently or use later to reinforce the lessons.