On January 25, Conshohocken Elementary (CE) kicked off a week of activities that focus on "being kind" as part of the Great Kindness Challenge.
"If there wasn't kindness in the world, then the world would be a bad place," said Gwen McAleese, a CE third grader.
The events included a pep rally, an all-school picture in the shape of a peace sign and a "Kindness Tunnel" on Monday morning where families, school personnel and community members greeted children along the track with hive fives and dancing to start their day.
"Kindness makes you happy," said CE third grader McKaela Nace. "It's good to be happy with each other and smile. It makes people feel good."
During the pep rally, the school recognized Judy Campbell and the Outreachers of Whitemarsh for their kindness and will be donating a statue in the library in Mrs. Campbell's memory. Every year, the organization purchases all of the school supplies for the third graders at the school.
The students have a checklist of 50 items — like picking up trash and holding the door for someone — that they should try to accomplish during the week. The children will turn in their checklists on Friday in return for a "Be Kind" t-shirt and bracelet. During recess, they can visit the Kindness Table to write letters or make cards for someone else.
"It gives the kids some fun activities to look forward to, and I think it brings our staff together as well," said third grade teacher Amy Campbell. "Getting to do some meaningful mindfulness activities with our kids is important."
This is the second year that the school has participated in the Great Kindness Challenge, and the teachers have added some new activities. For example, when students are seen doing kind things, they'll get paper links to add to the class chain. Then the class chains will be connected into a school chain. All of the students were also given mirrors, and during Morning Meetings, they're encouraged to make positive comments about themselves.
"We need to be kind to others, but we also need to take time to be kind to ourselves," added Mrs. Campbell.
The school will be taking its kindness activities into the community, when they will be delivering flowers that they've planted to businesses in the neighborhood in the spring.