"Skills like kindness, cooperation, and empathy are sometimes dismissed as “soft” skills in education—nice to have, but not essential to success in school or in life. Developing “hard” skills like math and reading can seem far more practical and important—hence our education system’s rigorous focus on teaching and testing them." Greater Good.
I have learned these 'soft skills' are critical for academic and personal success.
A large focus in my class is the whole child and the community we create to support each other. I help children find strategies to self calm /regulate, better understand & celebrate who they are, connect with others socially, and develop empathy and caring for one another. And themselves.
We can be so hard on ourselves and the school setting, today's culture can be competitive, comparing one child/person against another. So I also try to model and teach how to be kind towards ourselves. Self Compassion .
Aacdemics I have noticed come much more easily when the child feels safe, calm, confident, feels accepted, accepts failures as part of growing and connected to their classmates in a positive less competitive manner.
One of the many ways I create a caring classroom community is to directly teach/model and practice kindness and kind thoughts .
1st we watched the Boomerang and talked about kindness in the video, how small kind acts spread, how the people seemed surprised at first but then looked happier etc.
Next , we shared kind acts we had done or experienced and how that made us feel.
I focussed a bit more on the feelings we saw in the video . This was a bit complex for them to describe but all said they felt happy or calm when they experienced kindness or thought kind thoughts. They noticed that kindness seemed unexpected in the video.
I then returned to our Tornado Thought Jars.
The boys shook their jars and calmly watched as the glitter settle and the water cleared. I explained to them that when we send kind thoughts to others we care about (or ourselves) this action of sending kind thoughts can also slow down the tornado of thoughts or emotions and allow us to become calmer and happier. One child noticed he felt grateful thinking of his dog.
I passed out the Emwaves and they sat sending kind thoughts to pets, a close friend or a parent. After the practice we added another page into our Mindful Journal.
Welcome to my classroom!
I am passionate, a little bit quirky ( some may say a little bit more) and dedicated to serving children with Autism. These young people have touched me deeply and have made me a better teacher & hopefully person. I want to share what I have learned that allows these beautiful children to grow & sometimes thrive in my class.