One of the most meaningful aspects of adult life is the ability to look back and reflect, and how you apply the knowledge you’ve gained. The bridge between introspection and action. Given the opportunity to live your life over again, what would you change? Often, the answer to this question can give us a sense of purpose, and allow us the opportunity to make these changes for future generations.
Growing up, most of us were taught basic academics in school- math, science, english, social studies, et cetera. However, one of the biggest aspects of our education was, more commonly than not, taught indirectly and without focus: socialization. While the majority of socialization will always be taught in the frequent blunders, missteps, and occasional triumphs found in the day-to-day lives of children everywhere, there is a growing body of evidence in support of social and emotional learning being taught (directly, intentionally) in schools across the world.
Often, you’ll hear the argument, “Well I grew up this way, and I turned out fine!” And that’s great! That may very well be true, but no matter how well-adjusted we may have eventually wound up being, most of us will agree that we all have room for improvement. Whether it’s frustration about traffic lingering a little too long after we’ve arrived at work, or if it’s quiet disappointment at how quickly the weekend went by, we all have ways of thinking that could stand to be tweaked to improve our overall mental health. And the skills required to better understand our emotions and how to deal with others aren’t necessarily skills that need to be acquired incidentally throughout the course of one’s life; these are skills that can (and we feel should) be taught in schools.
Which is what led to the birth of The Kindness Campaign. There are already programs geared toward social and emotional learning in schools, and they are having a tremendous effect on children’s lives. Many of these programs can be costly for school districts, however, so we sought to create an SEL-based curriculum to offer schools at the much lower rate… in fact, it’s totally FREE!
The Kindness Campaign’s Mascot
At present, our program consists of two levels: pre-K3-through-first grade, and second-through-fifth grade. Both levels feature The Kindness Campaign’s mascot. Enoughie Buddy is a sweet, gender-neutral character whose tale is told through weekly, teacher-led lessons with the central focus being on Kindness, social and emotional learning, and mindfulness.
At the PreK3 through First Grade levels, the teacher will read a brief segment in Enoughie’s ongoing life story and will then facilitate class activities that tie in with the story and its corresponding lesson related to kindness, social-emotional learning and mindfulness.
At the Second through Fifth grade levels, teachers will guide learners through prompt-based journal writing responses followed by activities or discussions.
Given the aggressive workload of Educators in the United States, this program offers a fantastic, unique opportunity to help children come to understand their emotions and how to forge stronger social bonds that foster a community of kindness. This should not only help the students- it will serve to help the teachers, counselors, and parents, as well!
Social and emotional learning has been shown to significantly improve “social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance” (http://www.cfchildren.org/second-step/research), and the body of positive research on the topic is growing rapidly. The Kindness Campaign is a community sponsored, cost-free resource!
With your help, we can raise a generation of kids with the opportunities we wish we had when we were growing up. We have the opportunity to directly affect the emotional growth and development of present and future generations of children, and make the world a better place.