This Saturday, February 17 is the official Random Acts of Kindness Day. What will you do to celebrate? We’re excited to tell you about a school that replaced its unhealthy celebration habit with a very special new tradition.
Celebrating with students and staff is an important part of a school’s culture. But have you ever stopped to think about how many celebrations occur during the school year? Research shows that children ages 2-18 consume almost 40 percent of their calories from solid fats and added sugars. Traditional American celebrations consists of most of those types of foods- cupcakes, candies, and sugary drinks, especially on Valentine’s Day. Due to the increase in research, many school districts are taking a stand against unhealthy foods and celebrations in their schools.
As a Jump Right UP school, Eagle Creek Elementary in Pike Township is changing the way it celebrates Valentine’s Day (sometimes called Friendship Day) by participating in the Kindness Challenge. Mrs. Tina Banks is the Art Teacher at Eagle Creek and the champion of the challenge. The Kindness Challenge was launched in 2017 at Eagle Creek and runs from MLK Day through Valentine’s Day. At the start of the challenge Mrs. Banks presents the 12 components of Kindness from Random Acts of Kindness, which include:
From there, Mrs. Banks creates opportunities for teachers to assist their students in thinking in a kinder way by providing teachers with suggested activities, lesson plans, and short videos on the importance of kindness. Throughout the challenge students are then able to interact with a “Fill Our Buckets” board where students and staff can write notes to one another sharing kind thoughts and gestures.
In the art classes each student created a sketch of what kindness looks like to them and students were able to pass their drawings onto other students to finish. Some of these sketches where sent outside of the school and were finished by students in Canada. These classes then had the opportunity to live Skype one another and share their artwork.
To make sure that all students were impacted by the challenge each K-4 student created two clay hearts. The student would keep one and then the second would be given away to the community as an act of kindness. The 5th grade students also created two clay roses, again keeping one and giving the other away. On Feb 12th and 13th, the roses were given to the St. Vincent Cancer Center and the hearts were strung across a bridge for community members to take near the Farm Bureau Colts Complex. To wrap up the Kindness Challenge, Valentine’s Day celebrations at Eagle Creek will include a Kindness Celebration with a concert for students and staff in the gym.
Creating a meaningful tradition for kids to connect with one another and their community is a wonderful way to replace what otherwise would have been an unhealthy activity. To learn more or to start the Kindness Challenge in your school or district, visit the Random Acts of Kindness website. To get more ideas about school wellness, including other ways to create healthy celebrations, visit our school wellness toolkit here – it was created for parents but has useful information for teachers and administrators too. And be sure to download our Healthy Students guide here.
From Jump IN, happy Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day, and Random Acts of Kindness Day!
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