The holidays are a time of year that acts of giving, sharing, and kindness are performed worldwide in celebration of the holidays. However, spreading kindness needs to be an all year round act and to carry kindness for a lifetime is to teach the younger generation to lead the change. First-grade teacher at Garrison-Pilcher Elementary School, Donna Sellars, takes the time in December to teach her students the value of kindness through secret challenges given from a kindness elf.
The students are encouraged to find the elf in a new location each day to hear the message of the day. Mrs. Sellars shared, “I found the kindness elf idea on Pinterest, and it has been a part of my holiday classroom fun for about five years now. He appears on December 1st and brings us a “kindness challenge” each day tucked under his arm. I have to be very careful not to touch him as I retrieve the message. Human contact with elves makes them lose their magical powers, and we don’t want that!”
Teaching kindness to children is extremely valuable at a young age as stated by Mrs. Sellars. “It is so important to teach and model kindness to children at an early age because that’s when their personalities are forming, and they mimic what they see and hear. The kindness elf is a fun way to incorporate this character trait in my classroom,” said Mrs. Sellars.
Mrs. Sellars added, “The students cannot wait to find the elf each morning when they come in. It’s literally the first thing they do before they put down their book bags!”
The kindness elf is heavily used to incorporate lifelong lessons to the young children each day. “The students seem to think more before they speak and act when they know the Kindness Elf is watching them and looking for good reports to give Santa. We have had discussions about being kind and making good choices even when no one is watching for it’s the right thing to do,” Mrs. Sellars explained.
“Kindness is such an important trait. If everyone were kinder to each other, the world would be such a brighter place. Kindness means putting others before myself, and making sacrifices when needed or necessary,” Donna Sellars shared. Kindness being taught at young ages also teaches children to listen, which can help them be empathetic. From the young children to the elderly people, sharing a message or performing an act of kindness will help kindness be passed down for generations to come.