Over the last year, I’ve been hearing from big-hearted teachers who’ve been using my monthly Kindness Calendars in their classrooms and saying how much the children enjoy following them. So I thought that this year I’d create a special Kindness Advent Calendar for Kids, as well as my usual one for grown ups.
A couple of weeks ago, I contacted the headteacher at my nephews’ school – Edgewood Primary and Nursery School – to see if they’d be interested in teaming up and using my calendar in the classrooms… and received a resounding YES!
Then he invited me into the school to help launch this kindness initiative at their School Assembly on 1st December.
I haven’t spoken about kindness in front of an audience before, not counting my radio/TV interviews, but this was to be standing in front of 300 children aged between 4 and 11 years.
And I was really hoping they wouldn’t be a tough crowd 🙂
Feeling more and more nervous as the big day approached, I can honestly say that it couldn’t have gone any better – it was absolutely brilliant and my heart is fit to burst.
Headteacher Mr Seeley’s passion and enthusiasm for the school, the children, and focusing on the gift of kindness for the month of December, shines through and the school is such a friendly and welcoming place to be.
Before Assembly began, I was treated to a tour of the school, including a walk through the classrooms with some children preparing for their Christmas Faye or writing a Christmas story, while others were rehearsing for their Christmas Performance.
And then all of a sudden, it was time: I was standing in front of 300 pairs of inquisitive eyes and it was my turn to talk.
After wondering if my talk would engage the children, I was deeply heartened to see that after every single question I invited them to answer (Who likes Christmas? Who has an Advent Calendar at home? What did you get for Day 1? What is kindness to you?) a sea of hands shot up in the air, everyone eager to share their answer.
After sharing my story and introducing the Kindness Advent Calendar for Kids, the headteacher and I talked about Day 1’s Kindness Act to ‘Share this Calendar with friends to spread kindness’.
This weekend, every child will go home with a copy of the weekly newsletter which includes an explanation about my Kindness Advent Calendar and has the calendar printed on the back:
And again, when asked who they can share the calendar with, a sea of hands shot up to tell us they will share it with friends, cousins, parents, aunties and uncles…
We then practiced for Day 2’s Kindness Act to ‘Smile all day’, and it was such a pleasure to see 300 big beautiful smiles and hear the chorus of hellos and consequent giggles.
I honestly couldn’t have been any happier and am excited to see how they find, and hopefully have fun with, the rest of the kindness acts on the calendar.
Then it was time for the week’s Achievers to come up to the stage and receive their Achiever Certificates and a round of applause from their peers and teachers alike.
This week’s theme being kindness, the children read out why they’d been awarded this prestigious accolade, such as being kind and caring to other children, being helpful, and having a big smile for everyone.
My smile couldn’t have got any bigger, nor my clapping any louder 🙂
The children then filed out of the hall to the tune of Heather Small’s Proud with the apt lyrics “What have you done today to make me feel proud.”.
Later that day, headteacher Mr Seeley emailed to tell me there’s a buzz going around the school about the Kindness Advent Calendar for Kids, which is just brilliant. I’m really looking forward to popping back in a couple of weeks to see how it’s all going.
And in the meantime, kindness advocates Radio Nottingham are visiting the school next week to chat to the pupils about kindness. It will be played on Mark Dennison’s morning show one day soon – I hope to post the audio here once it goes out.
Unsurprisingly, I’m now back on bed-rest with a CFS symptom flare up and need to take a few quiet days to rest, restore and recuperate from all the excitement and exertion of launching my Kindness Advent Calendars – but of course, it’s all absolutely completely worth it.
If you’d like to share my Kindness Advent Calendar for Kids with your school, you can download it here for free – just scroll past the one for grown ups! And please do let me know how it goes in the comments below, I always love to hear from you…