The Power of One by Sophie Baber
Kindness is the attribute that we place first and foremost in our schools. It is Brookham’s first Golden Rule and a central theme reiterated in every aspect of school life, both at Highfield and Brookham. This year’s World Kindness Day, Wednesday 13th November, has been accompanied by the hashtag, #MakeKindnessTheNorm.
At a time when there is a real sense of the world getting harder and more separate, it is easy to feel like we are drowning in a sea of pessimism. However, when a twinkling of kindness appears, it is as if the storm clouds have rolled away and the sun is shining… even if only for a moment. Kindness has the ability to transform a community. Like a Patronus conjured by Harry Potter, it has the power to keep the Dementors at bay and the strength to protect us.
Furthermore, with one act of kindness a day, we can reduce our stress levels, and feelings of anxiety and depression. According to scientists, acts of kindness cause our bodies to flood with oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. These chemicals make us, and the people we have been kind to, calmer, healthier and happier. As a result, those on the receiving end are, in turn, likely to ‘pay it forward’.
From Circle Time to Assemblies, School Council meetings to having a comfy conversation sat on a snug sofa, our children hear regular reminders to keep the universal language of kindness at the heart of everything they do. The children, in turn, take these words on board and learn to embody kindness in their actions. They know that something as simple as eye contact and acknowledging each other with a smile can ensure that a person feels valued and cared for. This week alone, the random acts of kindness I have spotted have filled my heart with joy.
Freddie helped his friend put on their coat; Clara supported her friend when she tripped up; Tiger collected a beanbag for a boy who was feeling tired at the end of a long day; Louis smiled at me this morning and asked me how I was; Harry supported a younger child at playtimes and showed him how to use the playground equipment, Jasmine helped her friend take off his wellies; Charlie brought me a cup of tea that he had made in the Reception kitchen; Clara passed the rolling pin she was using to a friend who wanted to use it too and, as the photo below shows, the children in Year 3 helped the reption children read.
At Highfield, the children took part in a ‘random acts of kindness’ activity, whereby they picked a name out of a hat of someone else in their year group. With this name in hand, they were challenged to perform an act of kindness towards their peer at some point during the week. This activity was also taken to the staffroom, where all teaching staff were encouraged to do the same.
It is a privilege to see these special moments and worth noting that each one started with just one person. An individual who was prepared to stop what they were doing for a moment and notice the others around them.
We all, staff, pupils and parents, have a responsibility to ensure that kindness permeates through our schools and to nurture a culture where this most important of qualities is cherished, valued and celebrated. To #MakeKindnessTheNorm we must start with the number one. One smile. One helping hand. One conversation. One moment of time given over to another.
The power of one kind act is within each one of us.