By Caryn Lane
The Valencia School Community kicked off the second half of the school year with a 21-Day Kindness Challenge that ran from Tuesday, January 12 through Tuesday, February 16. This is the third year that the school has taken part in the challenge, started by Aptos/Rio Del Mar parent, Justina Bryant (www.21daykindnesschallenge.org).
Author Roald Dahl said, “I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I’ll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else.”
The Valencia staff and parents agree, and were excited to bring the 21-Day Kindness Challenge program to the students again this year. The children were equally fired up about trying to make their school a kinder place to be.
This year’s Kindness Coach, Caryn Lane (a parent and teacher at the school) and Valencia School Girl Scout Troop 10056 helped to organize the Kindness Challenge materials and get them out to the teachers and classrooms. Girls from the troop also helped with the 21-Day Kindness Challenge Kick-Off Assembly on Wednesday, January 13, where they explained how the challenge works and modeled different ways that students could show kindness to others. They encouraged the students to “throw kindness around like confetti” throughout the 21 days of the challenge.
Students helped to spread the kindness message during the 21 designated school days by making inspirational posters to hang around the school, and recording acts of kindness on strips to be linked together to form class kindness chains. Sixth grade student leaders also used the school’s loudspeaker system to share reported acts of kindness during the morning announcement period. Teachers showed daily video clips to inspire and motivate the students to notice the goodness going on around them. The “Kindness Boomerang” and Kid President’s “20 Things We Should Say More Often” were two of the favorites.
Valencia families were encouraged to keep the Kindness Challenge going on the home front to support what was happening at school. A sheet with home extension weekly kindness project ideas (included in the program materials) was provided to each family to foster more kindness in students’ lives outside of school.
Sixth grade student leaders worked with the Kindness Coach to lead the Kindness Challenge Celebration Assembly. Students, staff, and parents gathered in front of the school mural to celebrate the end of the challenge on Wednesday, February 17. Every class brought their kindness chain to the assembly to be linked together into one GIANT school kindness chain. As each class sat with their kindness chain across their laps, the student leaders reminded the students of the importance of keeping the kindness going on campus and at home through the rest of the year and beyond. Students were excited to see all of the chains of kindness around them and celebrated everyone’s efforts with a special Valencia School clap for all of their schoolmates.
Once all of the chains were linked together, the school kindness chain measured 540 feet and encompassed 4,320 acts of kindness. One of the favorite quotes posted around school during the challenge was, “The world is full of KIND people. If you can’t find one, BE one.” The students of Valencia School certainly took that to heart.
Way to go Seastars!