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Encouraging kids to spread kindness

Credit: Kidsday illustration / Ella Trama

Our principal, Mr. Robert Epstein, came up with the idea for our Kindness Counts program we have at our school. With the help of teachers, he designed Kindness Cards that adults in the building fill out if a student is caught being kind.

We asked Mr. Epstein why he decided to do this. He explained to us that every year he would go into each classroom and go over the school rules. One year he decided that all we need is kindness and half of the behaviors wouldn’t be an issue. He feels it is working because the first thing any adult says when dealing with a conflict is, “Was that kind?” Mr. Epstein says he now hears students using that phrase in solving their own conflicts and making kind choices.

Mr. Epstein would love if before every single decision that the students make they would first think, “Is this the kind thing to do?” He said to imagine if everyone in the world thought about kindness before action. His ultimate goal is for Canaan Elementary students to always think about kindness as they grow into adults and have children of their own. Mr. Epstein said this will happen if the students are looking to truly do the kind thing. He wants students to be kind everywhere, not just to get a card while in school.

We asked students if they felt Kindness Counts is working, and some agreed that they see less bullying behaviors and that kids are just being nicer to each other.

Jennifer Hempfling’s fifth-grade class, Canaan Elementary School, Patchogue

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