I was scrolling through my news feed the other day. And then something caught my eye (no, it wasn’t a sausage dog dressed in a ridiculous costume). It is the image below. I sat and read this passage, and then I read it one more time.
‘Teach’ is a word that comes up over and over again in this text. It’s funny though, when I flick through the NSW curriculum, I seldom see anything like this in the outcomes. When I turn on the news and I hear of our Education Minister or Prime Minister talking about how our education system needs to change, they don’t bring this up. Please don’t think that I am about to start a political war. I understand that teaching the next generation to care for others doesn’t directly lead to an improvement in economic outcomes (yes, careful choice of words there).
However as a teacher, I find these skills quite necessary to teach and foster. As educators, we try and incorporate these things into our lessons through role play and discussions, and there is certainly value in that. This year though, I wanted to make it real for my students.
So this year, 2A have a kindness tree.
The idea behind the kindness tree is that when a child does something kind because they recognise that it is the right thing to do, they receive a cardboard leaf. They write their name and their act of kindness down on the leaf. They don’t receive a prize, reward or huge round of applause. Instead, they get to contribute to a tree that started off looking quite dead, and they will eventually be part of a tree that displays the many acts of kindness the children of 2A do each and every day.
Academic ability is still something worth valuing. Neither the passage nor I are trying to convince you otherwise. I guess I am urging you to try a similar strategy at home with your own children. Or if there is something that works for you and your family, share your secret.
Often I find myself getting upset about all the things wrong in the world, however, when you have a tree that is constantly growing in kindness in the room where you spend most of your time, those types of thoughts start to become increasingly harder to have. Teaching our children to be kinder is how we, the current generation, can change the world.
- Alex B, Teacher & Little Wooden Toybox Toy Rep