Students Reflections on our School-Wide Focus on "Lifting Each Other Up Through Kindness"

In February, as our school-wide focus on Kindness came to a close, Mr. Hurst interviewed groups of 3 to 5 students from each of our 14 classes - and he asked them three key "Spirals Of Inquiry" scanning questions. Below is a sample of some of the answers to these questions from Bridge students: 

Can you tell me something interesting or fun that you learned about being kind?

  • Helping someone is fun and it makes me happy inside
  • You can lift someone up by helping them 
  • We made Kindness Ninjas, and we wold sneak up to people and be nice to them and surprise them with random acts of kindness
  • Kindness starts at school but it can spread throughout the world
  • I like how, even though people didn't always know other people well, or spend much time with them, (during the kindness focus) they actually found something to like about them 
  • Whenever we see a random act of kindess, we write it on a little heart and we paste it one this kindness bulletin board and we are trying to fill it up 
  • Being kind is about helping other people, but it could also be watering a plant or riding a bike to save our planet
  • Helping people, like opening their lunchbox if they need help or opening a door for them
  • Making cards for other people, like putting positive message notes on another classes window
  • Doing the Friendship flowers activity made me think about people I don't know so well and think about what I like about them - so it was interesting to think about others in a way that you wouldn't, it kind of changed my perspective
  • Being kind to people makes me happy
  • Every kind act makes a ripple that is felt around the world
  • Because if you are kind, then kindness will turn around and come back to you even stronger
  • I liked receiving the friendship flowers because I got to see what strengths others people noticed, and what I can improve on
  • I have noticed that a lot of people started to say "Hi" to a bunch of other people or began hanging out more with other people
  • When I came to school, and people were kind to me it really brightened up my day for sure
  • I was happy when people wrote nice things about me and I think that goes also for the whole class

Why do you think it is important to learn about kindness

  • So kindness spreads everywhere and everyone will be nice and feel good
  • Because, when you show negative negative comes back to you, and when you show kindness, kindness wiill come back
  • Because, when you show someone kindness, someone will be kind to you too
  • Because, if you are kind to people, they will be kind to you back. But, they will also be kind to other people, and other people will be kind to other people and other people and.... it spreads like an infectious disease, but a good one!
  • If people are kind to each other at Bridge, it might spread around the world
  • Because, if you are in a kind class and go to a nice school, then you are going to be your happiest self ever
  • Because it will help you with your career, because people will like you more. And it will also help with your own happiness, because you will have more friends
  • When we learn about different random ways to be kind, we think about them and we can try to do them to our friends too - and pretty soon everyone is being kind in different ways to everybody
  • Because if everyone was kind and nice, and people weren't mean or bad, that would make the world a better place
  • It makes the environment around us nicer. It makes us want to go to school more because you know something good is going to happen today - the people around you are going to be kind to you
  • Because it helps people feel better and then there's no problems
  • If everyone is kind, then everyone is happy
  • It makes you think of the goodness of other people and how we can all benefit from kindness
  • Because when I am being kinder to more people I have more friends, and I also feel good about myself

What are your / our next steps as a learner / learners about kindness?

  • I think we need to help people with kindness more when they are alone or in trouble or sad
  • We need to learn that kindness shouldn't just be a Kindness focus for a month, every day should be a kindness day
  • Everyone thinks that we can be kind with this activity or this one time focus on Kindness but you have to be kind every day for your whole life - forever basically
  • Many people still hide behind masks or anonymity on the internet and say mean things to others - and that has to stop
  • I think we should learn more about empathy and understand better how other people feel and understand how we would feel if other people had said positive or negative things toward us
  • Instead of just thinking about being kind in an activity, we can actually tell lots of other people what we like about them in person every day
  • For me, it's just to do the actions in real life, not just learn about them in class or at school
  • I think we need to work harder at treating people thw way you would want to be treated. And so if people treat others nicely then they will be treated nicely too.
  • I need to take care of myself by eating well and sleeping becuase when I dont sleep a lot I get cranky
  • I have been trying to be kinder but I need to do it more consistently 

Scanning the evidence 

Some common themes emerged when asking students to reflect on the Focus on Lifitng Each Other Up Through Kindness:

  1. Our students noticed a positive impact on daily life at Bridge, in their own lives and upon the lives of others and believed it was important to learn how to be kind to others within our community
  2. They believed that being kind to someone created a more positive culture where one act of kindness by somone leads to more acts of kindness by others - the concept of kindness spreading and social responsibility growing was mentioned over and over by our students 
  3. Many students believe that this focus on kindness should not just be a special event. They believed that being kind to one another, and developing a stronger sense of empathy fo one another, should be a school-wide focus all of the time. That is, we need to think about how we can make a positive difference in the lives of others each and every day.

Our Next Steps...

Our staff also reflected on the individual and collective experiences within our community throughout the kindness focus, and reviewed the input from their students  on the impact of this school-wide initiative. They agreed with our students regarding the need for a more consistent and comprehensive school-wide focus on kindness and empathy - and a stronger and more integrated emphasis on the development of the three personal and social core competencies each and every day. These competencies include:

  • Personal Awareness and Responsibility 
  • Positive Personal and Cultural Identity 
  • Social Awareness and Responsibility 

To that end, our staff will build upon our strengths as a community and the positives from this experience and:

  • Form a committee In September, 2021, led by our Area Counsellor, Marnie Floris, to explore ways to promote, teach, encourage, foster, acknowledge, recognize, and celebrate kind and pro-social actions at Bridge.
  • Utilize Professional Development opportunities to develop a greater understanding of teaching and learning within these core competencies
  • Work collaboratively to develop a consistent and cohesive plan to make Bridge (which is already a great place to call home) an even kinder and more supportive learning community for all.

We are proud of our school, but we know that we can all do more to make daily life at Bridge more positive for the students, staff and families. 

As described in our actions blogs describing our focus on kindness, and our SOGI initiative, we are working to build upon Bridge's considerable strengths as an inclusive learning place - to deepen our commitment to make our school a place where all students feel safe, secure, connected and valued as important members of our community. We look forward to more conversations, more exploration and learning, and more actions within this important part of our curriculum -  to make Bridge a more inclusive, kind and supportive home for all of our learners.  

Updated: Tuesday, November 30, 2021