World Kindness Day is this Saturday, November 13. It’s a global holiday that promotes large and small acts of kindness. The Along team loves this holiday. It’s right in line with one of our main goals: To help students feel seen and understood. We believe that by checking-in, listening and understanding students, the classroom turns into a place of connection and kindness.
To honor this holiday, we’re taking a better look at kindness. Because it can feel easy to gloss over the importance of being kind and even take it for granted when we see it. But, true kindness requires attention and care. That’s why we wanted to better understand why kindness matters and how to cultivate the quality in the classroom.
Why does kindness matter?
At Along, we see kindness as one of the key ways to develop strong relationships. In fact, we have an entire collection called Express Care that is built on the idea of showing students that they matter and treating them with empathy. When teachers show kindness to students through Along, they’re paving the way for deeper connections and creating a feeling of safety.
This is something that our Along teachers have experienced first-hand. Jourden Armstrong from Flushing Senior High School aims to foster a “culture of kindness” in her classroom. She shared with us the following: “The back-and-forth between teacher and student really lends itself to developing a culture of kindness because you have someone responding to you with empathy. What makes Along so special is that it allows students to be able to share in a safe space.”
According to this Edutopia article, the benefits to showing and teaching kindness are many and multi-layered. From producing endorphins to encouraging prosocial behavior, kindness is felt physically, emotionally, and mentally. And, the results? The article lists the following:
- Happy, caring children
- Greater sense of belonging and improved self-esteem
- Increased peer acceptance
- Improved health and less stress
- Increased feelings of gratitude
- Better concentration and improved results
- Reduced depression
- Less bullying
As you can see, there’s no downside to taking the time to embrace kindness.
How do we cultivate kindness?
Like so many things, kindness begins with a question. Every time a teacher checks in with a student through Along or in-person, they’re showing empathy and respect for a student’s life. They’re reaching out a hand and asking what’s really going on. Plus, by taking the time to connect and reflect, teachers model this all-important quality. They’re showing how reflecting on one’s actions provides an opportunity to grow in empathy — both for themselves and others.
Armstrong believes that this sort of modeling behavior has been a big deal for her students. Along has given Armstrong’s students an opportunity to see that she’s a real person who makes mistakes. “Sharing my own struggles, the things that I value, and the things that I’m passionate about is so important because it’s genuine,” she says. “I think modeling that behavior is utterly important for their social and emotional growth, but also for them to see that just because I’m an adult doesn’t mean I know everything.”
It’s all about showing that kindness doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It means you’re working to deepen connections, to show respect and curiosity, and to understand how your own actions impact others. Lead the way and see how the classroom follows.
To get the conversation going on kindness, check out Along’s Express Care collection or start with the Write a Gratitude Letter activity. You can also check out this PBS article that outlines tips for teaching kindness.
We wish you a wonderful World Kindness Day — and a year full of empathy and appreciation.