Kindness. You’ve got to teach it to kids. Perhaps the best way to do that is to practice – inviting kids to look for and identify acts of kindness from others and to pay it forward by doing kind things for the people around them.
That’s the idea behind Kiddie Academy’s nationwide call challenge to its students — and all kids — to collect 10,000 acts of kindness in the days leading up to February 17, Random Acts of Kindness Day.
A chain of kindness
At Bellevue’s Kiddie Academy, as with other locations across Puget Sound, kids, parents, and teachers will be writing each act of kindness they see or do on a slip of paper to become part of a kindness chain. Bellevue’s goal is to create a change long enough to fill the school’s hallway.
“Our classrooms and parents are looking for little acts of kindness, watching to see them happening in the classroom, in their own personal lives, or that their kids are doing,” says Alyssa Ramynke, director of the Bellevue school.
Ramynke says kindness is one of the “character essentials” Kiddie Academy tries to instill in its students. She says the school’s kindness curriculum “really focuses on how we are making somebody feel. Are we helping them feel happy?
“We’re also talking about things that happen throughout the day that make kids happy. ‘Do your friends play a part in that? Are they doing something with you? Are they doing something for you?’ We discuss emotions with the kids, trying to focus it on the idea that kindness makes you happy. ‘So how can you also spread that happiness to others in turn?’”
“Random Acts of Kindness Week is a relevant moment to get the whole community involved in doing good for others,” says Maria Dontas, director of corporate social responsibility for the national Kiddie Academy Educational Child Care. “Our motto at Kiddie Academy is ‘Community Begins Here’ and what better way to be active participants in our communities than by spreading kindness as far and wide as possible.”
Ways to extend kindness
Kiddie Academy has more serves more than 38,000 children at 327 locations across the U.S., including schools in Seattle, Redmond, Kenmore, Snoqualmie, Mill Creek, Bothell, and Bellevue. Each February, its students across the U.S. are invited to engage in small and large kindnesses — activities like making cards for hospital patients, collecting nonperishable food items, holding clothing and toy drives, and creating valentines for veterans and senior living communities.
ALL Washingon kids and parents invited to show their kindness
But you don’t have to be enrolled at an academy to participate. The Bellevue Kiddie Academy will be posting random acts of kindness on its Instagram page and is encouraging other kids and parents to join them there.
“Show your kindness [on your Instagram] and tag us,” says Ramynke. “That way, even students who aren’t actually with Kiddie Academy and families that are outside in the community can also still show how they’re participating.” The school’s tag is @kiddieacademyofbellevue.