Develop a culture of kindness in your school by having daily meetings.

It seems sometimes like we can’t pick up a newspaper without coming across an article about bullying in our schools. This needs to change, and we are not helpless. We can significantly decrease the amount of bullying in our schools by teaching pro-social skills. Through frequent lessons and discussions, schools develop a culture of kindness, empathy and cooperation.

Some schools have found success in holding daily morning meetings. Educators teach students through social-emotional skills to decrease conflicts and improve social interactions. By providing daily discussions in each classroom, schools develop a culture of kindness.

One great story on developing empathy in schoolchildren was shared on Ashoka’s StartEmpathy blog. During a daily morning meeting at one New Orleans elementary school, a class developed rules of play to make recess a safe and fun environment for all kids.

The class uncovered that not all children were getting a chance to play four square at recess. Getting to the root of the problem, the students realized that only one student was “in charge” of four square – making the decisions about how it was played. Using the democratic space of Morning Meeting, they all came up with new rules together. Since this meeting, all students have the opportunity to play four square at recess, and Talbot rewarded her students by allowing them to use the same decision-making process to design a recess-friendly football game. Students weighed the physical and emotional risks of playing football and created a list of rules, including that a maximum of 10 people can play at a time and that no pushing is allowed.

Rather than singling out the children who could not play four square before or singling out the child that was making all of the decisions about who could play, Talbot created a solutions-oriented environment that produced both a better four square system and a new way to play football. At the heart of this approach to morning meeting is kindness.


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