Fourth grade's amazing Kindness Squad sprang into action to spearhead efforts for Kindness Week, which wrapped up Friday in the Lower School. During morning announcements, squad members shared their video messages, spreading good will and graciousness. Each day, they touched on a benevolent theme, such as positivity, leadership, gratitude, friendship, and respect, and called fellow students to action.
"We created a new tradition this year with our Kindness Squad, and now it will always be a part of Kindness Week," said Julie Jurken, fourth grade teacher. "I like to use the metaphor that Kindness Week is a chain, and every year we're going to add a new link."
One ambitious Kindness Squad challenge inspired classes to create a new temp job called The Respector, whose role is to keep track when classmates catch their friends respecting each other. The prize – classes with 20 or more tallies win an extra recess!
Kindness leaders created other clever school-wide tasks, including writing thank you notes to helpers outside immediate circles, such as lunch servers or security staff; playing with a new friend at recess; and designing a positivity page to list all things that bring a smile. During last week's festivities, the group also decorated GSB hallways with handmade posters illustrating the five spirited themes.
Yet the Kindness Squad's scope extends far beyond the five days of Kindness Week. Since the start of the school year, teachers and administrators have turned to members for help and guidance. "Our Kindness Squad also acts as ambassadors," said Fourth Grade Teacher Jenna Hoffmann. "They meet with Mrs. Fedon to help solve problems, like how to include others at recess. Because of COVID precautions, kids cannot play tag. The squad brainstormed games that are spaced apart, like SPARKLE. They are a very empathetic group."
These pupils also positively influence others. Squad member and new GSB student Schuyler Mendez '29 found her voice and showcased her confidence when she shared words by Martin Luther King Jr., at a recent Lower School Town Meeting. "Skylar recited the quote: The time is always right to do what is right," said Mrs. Jurken. "She set the tone for the day. All of these children are amazing. They inspire me."
For more Kindness Week photos, visit the GSB Lower School Instagram account at @gsblowerschool!