Students Eager to Spread
Kindness at Groh PS
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
This phrase has always been a driving force for Jennifer Haves, a Grade 2 teacher at Groh Public School in Kitchener. It inspires and guides how she aims to build a sense of community in her classrooms, guided by the knowledge that the well-being of the students she serves is directly tied to their academic success.
After seeing social media posts and reading about Kindness Clubs in other elementary schools, she felt inspired to take the message of kindness and help students spread it across the entire Groh PS school community and beyond.
Haves and teachers Emily Darby, Edina Pervanic, Natasha Tsetsekas and Laura Wolfe, put out an open call for students to join the new Kindness Club.
“To be honest, I was expecting 30 or 40 students to show up,” said Haves.
Turns out, students at Groh PS were beyond eager to use their voices to help spread acts and messages of kindness across their school, with close to 200 students showing up for the first meeting.
“To say I was blown away is an understatement,” said Haves. “I just stood in the hallway staring at the massive group in disbelief. I was thrilled to see all those faces and the sheer excitement radiating from them.”
Grade 4 student Hayden said he wanted to join the Kindness Club, “because I want to be better at being kind. Even though I'm already kind, I thought I could do better and I want to make other people feel happy.”
“If someone is feeling down it's always good to make them feel better,” he said. “When they get happy, you feel happy too!”
Haves explained that Hayden wasn’t the only student who was this excited to take part.
“I don’t think [the students] needed a lot of motivation. When given the opportunity, all kids want to be kind and help others,” said Haves.
Now that the Kindness Club has taken off with so much enthusiasm, students are hard at work planning activities to engage the whole school and the surrounding community in spreading kindness. The entire project is guided and led by student voice - ensuring that their work is responsive to the needs of their friends and peers.
Activities include painting and displaying kindness rocks, creating positive and inclusive displays within the school, giving out morning high-fives and staff shout-outs, and making thank-you cards, to name a few.
The efforts of these students will have an impact that reaches well beyond the borders of the schoolyard. And they may even inspire others to start Kindness Clubs at their schools.
Asked if she had any advice for other schools considering starting a Kindness Club, Haves said, “Be prepared for a large turnout and get ready to be amazed!”