Kindness Counts Curriculum
Kindness Counts: a unique compassion and math curriculum
Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching kids what counts is best. –Bob Talbert
I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings –Margaret Mead
The children, parents and teachers of the St. Helena Cooperative Nursery School have developed a unique curriculum that not only teaches compassion, kindness and generosity while including experiences in math, language, literacy, science, economics, and civic action. At the Co-op teachers don’t “teach” kindness and giving they make space for it to happen everyday. This practice becomes a lifestyle or classroom style, part of the daily routine, reflecting one of the school’s core values. The attitude of kindness isn’t taught in just one unit but rather is how teachers and students spend their school days together. Since 1997, each month the families and teachers of the Co-op focus on gathering and then donating much needed items to the farm workers’ camp, local food pantry, and Heifer International.
At the peak of harvest, health care items are delivered to the Napa Valley Farm Work Camp supplying the farm workers with new toothbrushes, bars of soap, shaving cream and shampoo. In addition, the Co-op Nursery School continues to be one of the largest consistent donors to the St. Helena Food Pantry, typically providing over 60 bags of groceries, 200 pounds of rice, 300 cans of soup, 150 of bottles of juice, 70 jars of peanut butter and jelly, and 120 boxes of cereal throughout the school year. In the spring, the curriculum broadens from the focus on the local community to encompass the needs of the larger world by collecting money for Heifer International.
As the children collectively work together with the community, meeting and interacting with volunteers from the farm workers’ camp, the local food pantry, and the larger world community, they become aware of the needs of others, and are empowered to make a difference. It is in this way, the children of the Co-op community live a hands-on educational integrated experience in compassion, kindness, generosity, math and literacy. Plus, parents also learn to be caring, and generous along with their children. Each component of the Kindness Counts curriculum weaves together learning experiences employing the best practices of early childhood education.
“No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The efforts of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.” –Emma Goldman
WHY WE TEACH KINDNESS
“To reduce hatred and other destructive emotions, we must develop their opposites – compassion and kindness” – His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The teachers of the Co-op integrate, daily during circle time, the focus on compassion, kindness and generosity through meaningful conversations as donations are gathered. The experience goes beyond, math, science and literacy by engaging students in thinking about the needs of others and how they can meet those needs. Nursery school children aged three, four and five, who learn about compassion, respect, empathy and how to express acts of kindness in both words and actions can have a positive impact on the world they live in. These lessons also teach students to be active citizens of their local community and the world.
Kindness Counts Curriculum Copyright ©2018 Maureen Kelly – All Rights Reserved