Plain City Elementary School celebrated its first-ever Kindness Day on Thursday with a day full of fun activities. Rotating groups of students were invited to hear the children’s book, “Only One You,” by Linda Kranz read by librarian Janet Yates, learn about the school’s Stick Together Program, and paint rocks to be put on display in a rock garden in front of the building.
Groups were also taken outside to write various messages of encouragement on the sidewalks around the building. The goal of the day is to get the kids thinking about what they can do to spread kindness to each other and the people in their lives.
“We’ve talked a lot about being accepting,” said Janel Luker, the elementary art teacher. “So we wanted to do something with the kids that would help make people smile.” Luker and Julie Paige, the Teacher Leader and District Literacy Coach, came up with the idea to observe a day dedicated to teaching the students about kindness.
“We thought about how you can do simple things to spread kindness,” she said. “That’s what the rock garden came from.” She said placing the colorfully painted stones in front of the school represents all the people in the world putting something together to make something beautiful.
Paige said the idea came from something on social media and they wanted to bring the teaching of kindness to the school. “It’s great to be able to focus on positive actions for the kids,” Paige said. “The kids have been really excited to participate in something that can make people smile.”
Paige and Luker both oversaw the different activities, Luker focusing on the rock painting and Paige on the story time, but the success of the day came from everyone that helped out.
“We have parent-helpers and teachers painting rocks,” Paige said. “It’s really something that started small and evolved into the whole school being involved.” However, part of teaching the kids about kindness to others requires addressing negative issues such as bullying. To discuss those problems, JoLynn Wheatley, the Student Social Worker, did a presentation on Kindness Day explaining the Stick Together Program.
“My hope is that it raises awareness for the kids,” Wheatley said. “It deals with how to prevent bullying and how we can stick together as a school.” She said the kids make a pledge to stand against bullying and makes signs to post around the halls to remind each other to do the same.
“The kids do the pledge and see how that can be a positive force for the rest of the school year,” she added. The teachers said that this is something that they hope to continue in the future and celebrate every year. National Stone provided the rocks for painting and Landscapes by Terra prepared the ground for the rock garden.
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.