Nature Play On Vancouver Island

Nature Kindergarten On Vancouver Island

A World of Kindness

As educators how do we nurture kindness in everyday social interactions when we know that a kind word or act will impact others. I believe that this needs to be intentional, mindful, and like many of my friends, a choice.

I was browsing the books in my colleague and friend Alex King's room and noticed the book A World of Kindness which had been on my short list for the next VIRL visit. A beautiful and thoughtful book, it shares a strong yet simple message about everyday acts of kindness that we as educators hope to model and nurture in the children.  

Noticing how kind my friend Alex is to me and all of the people whose lives touch hers, I decided to reflect upon my own thinking and actions around kindness. As an educator, Kindness, Patience and Time has been a big part of my program. During a recent visit to the Reggio Emilia Early Learning Centres in Italy, these values were evident in the kind, respectful and nurturing approach that the Reggio educators used.

Last week during student conferences kindness was mentioned by almost every student as they reflected on their family, friends, winter traditions and school. I believe that the impact of being intentionally kind with children is immense.

Here is a short list of my thoughts:

1. Smile - be intentional, use a friendly expression and body language. Choose to laugh, ask questions and foster a joyful tone when speaking.

2. Soothe - as educators we want to nurture independent habits of thinking including solving our own problems and learning to soothe ourselves. So what is our adult role when a child is hurt, upset, disappointed, confused? I see this as an opportunity to be kind and to also model kindness. In a short space of time, I hear my words repeated as children comfort each other, " I'm a good helper, would you like me to .... I am sorry that happened, what can I do to help..."

3. Time =  Patience = Caring - giving children time to solve their problems but being clear that we are there when they need us is important to nurturing independence in a caring environment. Slowing down their day and giving time for them to think, the language to express themselves, an abundance of opportunities to collaborate and cooperate are all important pieces of creating a caring and kind space. 

4. Respect - listening respectively and speaking respectfully builds those kinds of reciprocal relationships that contribute to a caring and kind space. This of course circles back to time and patience. Children may be better risk takers if they know that they are respected and that they have the time and space to share their thinking, make decisions and be valued.


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