“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” Words spoken by kindness expert Fred Rogers were just some of those shared with students at Payson Elementary School on Nov. 13 for World Kindness Day.

While the message seems simple, it is an ongoing lesson for the youngest learners in our community. Teachers strive to incorporate the concept of kindness and being kind through our words and actions every day. And on this day, as well as during Random Acts of Kindness Week in February, teachers put extra emphasis on how students can show kindness to others.

At the kindergarten level, teachers used several books, songs, and videos to express the importance of kind actions. One example is in the wrinkled heart experiment. Students imagine unkind words and actions while crinkling a self-made, hand cut, paper heart. At the end, they do their best to flatten the paper back out, but it leaves them with the visual that someone’s words and actions can leave a mark on someone else’s heart. This is just one of the many lessons that teachers used to teach their students what it means to be kind, and help create a better sense of empathy at these critical early years of schooling.

While we celebrated World Kindness Day in different ways throughout our hallways and classrooms at PES, teachers live the Capturing Kids’ Hearts process every day. This model begins with shaking hands, ensuring eye contact, and acknowledging each student in the morning. Throughout the day, students check in on each other according to their student-made classroom social contract about how they want to be treated. At the end of each day, teachers send them on their way with an inspirational launch as everyone exits the building. Kindness matters and we loved celebrating World Kindness Day.

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