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Kindness is an important part of the culture at Woodland Elementary

Kindness Matters

Kindness has always been an important part of the culture at Woodland Elementary. During the 2020-2021 school year, though, Woodland faculty and students tried their best to emphasize a caring attitude more than usual. 

“Our Kindness Matters campaign has been a tremendous success,” Woodland Principal Dr. Karen Reach said. “Our Student Council Members, under the tutelage of Dr. Kristi Presley and Mrs. Mary Archer created and navigated such a beautiful process and student-centered campaign.” 

The extra focus on kindness included all PreK-4 students committing to a Kindness Pledge. Students also created a kindness quilt and reminded their classmates to be kind to one another during the daily announcements. In order to get a space on the kindness quilt, students selected from 30 actions that ranged from at-home activities to in-school opportunities to brighten someone’s day. A few of the suggestions included hugging a family member, writing a letter to someone to let them know you care about them, holding the door open for someone, and various other activities that provided someone with a sliver of kindness. 

But even this past month, Presley noted that the added emphasis on kindness has helped the school community navigate a different school year. 

“Woodland is already a very kind place, but this has been a particularly difficult year for everyone, and I believe our Kindness Matters campaign brought a little more fun to this school year,” Presley said. “Through our efforts of celebrating kindness this year, I think the students have become more aware of when kindness is being shown and also more intentional about showing kindness.” 

Woodland 4th-grader Reagan Huret said that she takes pride in setting good examples for the younger students. Huret said she has noticed a difference in the way people treat one another. 

“Kindness isn’t just about words, but they are important. It is important to show people in our school and the community how they can be kind with their actions,” Huret said. 

Woodland 3rd-grader Macy Benfield said that she's noticed a difference in the school community. 

“When someone drops their pencil box, and stuff goes everywhere, a lot of people run up to help that person clean it up,” Benfield said. “I like when people are being kind because it is better than being rude to someone.” 

Woodland 1st-grade teacher Laura Rainwater said that putting kindness first has had a very positive impact on her students. She said that one of her favorite parts of the school year is when all of the students in the school wear their Kindness Matters T-shirts, which were purchased after students wrote letters to local businesses for donations. 

“When we all wear out Kindness t-shirts, it is a fun reminder to have school spirit and keep the kindness going,” she said. “We are learning to help each other more. I notice students going out of their way to assist other friends with their computers, class assignments and even tying shoes. My students are taking care of each other by being a friend on the playground, listening more to each other, and taking turns. 

But event past the month, Presley said that students are continuing their kindness. 

“In my classroom, a secret kindness club has formed,” she said. “The students write encouraging messages to other students and leave them on their desks when we leave to go to lunch, related arts, or recess. They want to stay anonymous, which tells me that they are spreading kindness to bring joy to others, without expecting recognition.” 

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