Head-Royce News

Character Building in the Lower School: The 21 Days of Kindness Challenge

21 Days of Kindness memo board display in 4th grade teacher Sue Moon's classroom

Children in the Lower School are learning first-hand how good it feels to be kind. Under the inspired direction of Assistant Lower School Head Leslie Powell, the entire division recently set out to further cultivate a culture of empathy and kindness for 21 days through intentional acts of care for others and the environment.

The challenge called for each classroom in the Lower School to begin each of the 21 days by coming together at morning meeting and setting a specific intention for the class. Some classrooms lit a candle, channeling mindfulness before setting the intention; others sat gleefully with their peers in a circle, giddy to leave their own positive impact on someone else’s day. In all classrooms, however, the goal was the same: make a difference in the world, today!

"When you multiply the number of acts by the number of community members and the number of days, it's clear to see that our movement of kindness will have a profound impact,” Ms. Powell reflected, and indeed, it did. The results were overwhelming. Fourth grade teacher Sue Moon reflected:

"I saw students trying to take more risks. On one of the days, the prompt was ‘try something new’ and one student of mine, who sometimes struggles to make the right decision, as many children do at this age, stood up and created a ‘helping’ train when they noticed, without my asking, that I needed some help carrying items across the room. Some students noticed this and were moved to be helpful in their own right, and that spirit caught on like wildfire. That was big. It’s hard to do something that you don’t usually do, but the 21 Days of Kindness Challenge was a great way to get kids out of their comfort zone.”

First grade girl gathers information from two 5th grade buddies to write them letters of kindness.

Head-Royce remains committed to reinforcing the importance of global citizenship and providing students with regular opportunities for high-quality collaborative learning where “kids can think beyond themselves – about how they could help someone else be happy and about the importance of having each other’s back.”

First grade teacher Debra Carr reflected on the larger intention of this year’s Challenge: "How do our students want to present themselves to the world? Much more than the academic piece, who are we as kids? Who do we want to be in the world? How do we express ourselves? How do we take part in our community? These things are so important in developing our students, so the focus is on getting them to a point where they are comfortably and thoughtfully asking and answering those questions on their own, with each other, and as a habit.”

Closeup of individual acts of kindness self-recorded by 4th graders in Ms. Moon's classroom.

Check out some of the reasons Head-Royce community members were inspired to participate in this year’s 21 Days of Kindness Challenge!



More School News