January S.E.L.F. Newsletter

Your Monthly Toolbox for Social & Emotional Learning


As parents and teachers, one of our greatest hopes is that our kids will be kind and good people. When they have a choice to help others, we hope they will. We never want them to be cruel, intolerant, or prejudiced.

But let's face it. It's not always easy to be kind, even for us. Even grown-ups don't want to share our toys sometimes. Helping others can seem hard when we feel like we don't have the help we need ourselves.

The good news is that kindness can be learned; just like any other behavior, it can be trained through repetition. The most dominant way children learn new behaviors is by copying those around them. Which means we adults have a powerful opportunity, and responsibility, to teach by example.

Mirror neurons are cells in the brain that wire us for imitation, and they're especially active during childhood. When kids observe an action, their brains respond as if they are performing the action themselves. Their brains form new neural pathways, and these create the basis for behaviors that stick with them throughout their lives.

Thanks to neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to adapt and change, we all have the aptitude to learn new behaviors, including becoming kinder. Kids' brains are particularly moldable, as they've had less time to solidify lifelong habits. So if you want to encourage more kindness in your kids, and in the world, here are some fun things you can do:

1. Send Kind Thoughts

2. Share Stories of Kindness

3. Smile More Often

4. Play the Compliment Game

5. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

6. Try Empathy Charades

7. Volunteer for Good

For more of this article, visit https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-27967/7-fun-ways-to-teach-kindness-to-kids.html

Kindness can be the norm.

Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. ­~Scott Adams

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Celebrating Kindness in Our Community in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Week of Kindness, sponsored by The Charmettes' of Saint Lucie County in collaboration with the MLK, Jr. Commemorative Committee, based on the principles of the late Dr. King's efforts, is made to involve our community in the promotion of the ideas of Dr. King such as responsibility, compassion, honesty, non-violence, and moral courage.

All community leaders, teachers, students, and citizens of Saint Lucie County are encouraged to become involved in helping others during The Week of Kindness.

The theme for this year's Week of Kindness is "The Power of Togetherness"

For more information on how you and/or your school can get involved,

contact Luvenia Morgan at (772) 577-0060 or Lmorgan1808@comcast.net

This month's MeetUp and Community Circles Planning Documents are designed to help facilitate discussions and activities to support The Week of Kindness.

The Story of Martin Luther King Jr. by Kid President

School-Wide Kindness Ideas

Students trick their custodian and he walks into surprise of his life!
A short story on - kindness must see
Random Acts of Kindness Triathlon | The Science of Happiness
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Words Kids Love to Hear

Parent Connection

The key to raising children who actively demonstrate kindness, helpfulness, courtesy, and compassion is to train our minds to notice those acts when they occur. Noticing when children behave kindfully, helpfully, courteously, and compassionately — and praising these moments — not only encourages more of that kind of conduct, it has other benefits as well. It expands a child's consciousness, fosters the rooting of a positive value system, and primes the brain for future success in school, society, and life.

The following phrases will help you notice and point out kind and helpful acts in your children. Adjust your language to the developmental stage of your child.

Under 3 years old: "You picked up your toy. That was helpful." Notice how the kind action — picking up the toy — is described for the child. The praise is also kept brief so as to be easily grasped.

4 years and older: "Cameron, you held your sister's arm so she could crawl into her car seat and ride safely. That was helpful." Here again, the action of the kindness is described, but an additional element is added — a description of how the action contributes to another person: "... so she could crawl into her car seat and ride safely." The teacher in the previous section might have praised Marissa's action similarly: "Marissa, you tapped your friend's shoulder so she knew it was time to listen to the story. That was helpful."

Can you feel the difference between the phrases above and the casual, "Good job?" Noticing describes the action, rather than judging it. By noticing helpful and kind acts in this way, we can achieve many developmental goals that lead our children to embrace our most cherished values.

  • Describing children's actions helps children become conscious of what they are doing in the moment: "You picked up the toys"; "You said thank you"; "You set the table." This consciousness stimulates the development of the higher centers of the brain that are essential for problem solving.
  • Stating how the action contributes to the welfare of others helps older children understand that they make a positive difference in the lives of others: "You picked up the toys so no one would fall"; "You said thank you so your friends knew you cared"; "You set the table, so we'd have the utensils needed to eat."
  • Adding a descriptive tag gives a name to these actions: "That was thoughtful"; "That was kind"; "That was helpful." When we do this, we teach our children exactly what these qualities look like, feel like, and sound like.

Try to consciously focus on the loving acts you see today. When your child learned to say "spoon," you smiled because your repetition and actions paid off. When your child grows to be a compassionate human being, the whole world will smile with you.

For more of this article, visit https://www.scholastic.com/parents/family-life/social-emotional-learning/social-skills-for-kids/kindness-counts.html

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