Sierra View Elementary Coyotes learned a life lesson this past week, which goes well beyond the textbooks or Chromebook – kindness matters.
For the second consecutive year, the Oakdale elementary school participated in the national program, The Great Kindness Challenge during the week of Jan. 28 to Feb. 1.
“It was received very well and we could see that it carried through the rest of the school year,” fifth grade teacher and event co-coordinator Stacy Graham said of the inaugural event, hosted in early 2018.
Graham, along with fifth grade teaching partners Kim Bianchi and Judy Alvey, as well as the Sierra View staff, eagerly presented the week long program once again to the students.
According to the event organizers the students were more inspired and motivated by their own ideas of demonstrating kindness, this second year.
“They’re coming on board more quickly with their own ideas,” Bianchi said of the student body.
Activities are planned throughout the week to engage the students in the ultimate kindness goal. Items of motivation include: Kindness counts bracelets, classroom posters, hand/heart quilt copies as well as strips of paper for a kindness chain.
The addition of Kindness Rocks, organizers said, is sure to be one cherished by student body members and staff for years to come.
Individual river rocks were painted by sixth grade students and adorned with a message of kindness. Next they will be placed randomly around the TK-Kindergarten playground for the younger students to find. The youngest Coyotes at Sierra View will then place them in a designated area on campus and begin the formation of the “River of Kindness.”
“It’s kind of a legacy to leave at the school,” Bianchi said, noting the permanent location of the river rocks will continue to grow each year as the activity will be repeated each year with the sixth graders.
Students were also encouraged to take on projects of kindness in each classroom, as well as sharing the gift of kindness beyond the campus.
“So proud of the Sierra View students and staff,” school Principal David Kindred shared. “When I arrived home from work yesterday, all the cars in my neighborhood were adorned with a Kindness Matters heart.”
Graham and Bianchi shared the hearts were the idea of a student who made the hearts and then placed them randomly throughout the community.
“I think because we call attention to it, the students do take a moment to reflect,” Graham said of the increased awareness and mindfulness of kindness.
“It encourages them to be more kind,” Bianchi followed. “Even though we have a lot of kind kids here already, it’s encouraging them to push beyond that and do more.”