I am going to talk about the age-old questions we probably all ask in our classroom every year during those first few days, “What is kindness?” Yes, that one simple word “kindness” stems into so many other words and can often lead to hours of discussion, activities, and more.
We as teachers try to create a culture of kindness in our classrooms every year and want students to bring these ideas of kindness out into their daily lives. But how do we do it?
Before we jump into the nitty-gritty of kindness, click on the image below to download my Kindness Scenario Cards FREEBIE.
What is Kindness?
First, we have to really consider the question: What is kindness? What does it mean to us? There are so many definitions, ideas, and ways to describe it. But I love how firstfiveyears describes it … kindness is not just a feeling but the person’s behavior towards others. These behaviors are compassionate, genuine, and the person’s behaviors can also show empathy. Meaning, the person can recognize and understand the emotional needs of the other person.
Sounds like a challenge for our young learners, doesn’t it? How am I going to get my preschoolers to understand kindness at this deeper level? It is more than just “being nice” or “sharing”. Our young learners have to understand so many parts of themselves and others to really get to the depth of kindness. But, I am always up for a challenge!
Creating a Culture of Kindness
First things first, as a group, we have to discuss and learn all about our own emotions. Preschoolers need to identify and understand their own feelings and be able to cope with them before diving into understanding the emotions of others.
This is a very important first step in a preschool setting. You will often have students who aren’t able to recognize emotions and regulate them. If they cannot do this, it will be harder for them to understand the concept of kindness.
Display Kindness Posters in the Classroom
We then discuss a different kindness quote every day. I have a special wall to display all my free kindness quote posters after we discuss each one, showing students how each poster represents kindness and ways to be kind to others. We also go over some kindness scenarios. But, I will talk about those more later! These brief discussions show my students I am encouraging kindness in the classroom whenever and wherever!
Model Kindness Everyday
Finally, we start to “walk the walk” if you may. Showing kindness to each other on a daily basis is so important. We learn all about modeling kindness, the language of kindness and using it, strengthening our behaviors, and we visit regulating our emotions once more. This focuses a lot on highlighting acts of kindness shown by students, my fellow teachers, and myself.
Ideas for Teaching Kindness
It can seem like a lot when you are trying to break down kindness to young learners. But there are easy and powerful ways to teach and promote kindness in preschool!
As I mentioned before, you want to build your students’ knowledge of kindness. Tap into their personal experiences and hold classroom discussions. Ask students for times they have shown kindness or have received kindness. You’ll be surprised at some of the amazing experiences they have showing kindness and receiving it!
💜Promoting Kindness in Preschool
After building their knowledge. Kindness scenario cards are where I turn next. These give students specific practice and allow myself and others to give feedback or help them when they need it. Sometimes showing kindness can be very difficult, especially if it involves a favorite toy or activity.
After you really explicitly teach and practice what kindness looks and feels like, you want to start to really look for ways your preschoolers are being kind. I love using a kindness challenge to start off. It allows students to see a concrete example of a kind act and gives them ideas of kind acts they can do themselves inside and outside of the classroom.
There are also a lot of different preschool kindness activities out there. These activities can range from printable worksheets to discussion activities. As long as you feel they are beneficial in helping you spread and promote kindness in your preschool classroom, use them!
💛Read Kindness Books for Preschoolers
I always encourage teachers to read books. Whether their students are preschoolers or twelfth graders. All students enjoy listening and viewing a good picture book. Some of my favorite kindness pictures books for preschoolers are:
There are a million choices out there. These are just a couple of my favorites. I love to have a bin full of kindness books my students can grab and look at whenever they please! It is just another simple way to reinforce kindness in the classroom.
💚Don’t forget to Include Families
Another great way to encourage kindness in the classroom is to include your students’ families at home. Send home a random act of kindness challenge or suggest unique books they can grab from the library to help support their preschoolers’ learning.
💖Want more Inspiration?💖
If you are love all of this information that will help you teach kindness to preschoolers, you are going to love some of my other blog posts! 👇🏼
50 Beautiful Social Emotional Development in Early Childhood Books
3 Main Areas to Focus on when Teaching Friendship Skills to Preschoolers
5 Effective Preschool Conflict Resolution Activities that Absolutely Work
12 Cool Kindness Books for Preschool & Other Kindness Activities for Kids
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