As children grow in a world filled with technology, it is more important than ever to nurture kindness in our children and to encourage their natural leadership and problem-solving abilities. Kindness is not a characteristic that always comes naturally to children or even adults. However, it is a vital part of our everyday interaction with others and we should encourage our students to perfect this skill as it has been proven that kindness toward others promotes a cooperative learning environment. 

To put it simply, kindness counts. And in today’s world, it counts more than ever. At the beginning of the year, my challenge to our students was to activate kindness whether through coming together for a school wide initiative or quietly being there for a friend who needs support. My point was to emphasize no matter how big or small, all acts of kindness are incredibly important and impactful.

This year, I saw acts of kindness at every grade level through programs with Meadow Ridge Senior Living Facility(K-3), Ridgefield Food Pantry at Thanksgiving(Grade 4), Meals on Wheels(Grade 5), Danbury Women’s Center(Grade 6), Prospector Theater(Grade 7), and our own amazing Kindergarten Buddy Program with our Grade 8 students. These kind acts were seen cross grade as well through our Peer Leadership Program, YSOP, Safe Walk, Rise Against Hunger and the Paradise High School fundraiser among many others. I am proud of how our students faced this challenge and from all they have accomplished, feel confident knowing that they understand the importance of being kind. But it is more than that. They also know what is feels like to make a positive human connection, to give of themselves to others in need and the importance of making a difference in their own community and beyond.

Modeling kindness is critical. We cannot expect our students to be kind if we are not providing good examples. Teaching kindness is important, however, giving our students the opportunity to experience what kindness feels like is what they will take with them wherever they go. I look forward to the future and how, through the power kindness, our students will continue to inspire, motivate and learn from each other to do valuable things for the greater good.