St Mary’s Catholic Academy Blackpool has run an Acts of Kindness week for five years now. The idea had its precursor in the Random Acts of Kindness movement. The school facilitates an experience for the whole school system, including families and parish, to experience an environment of heightened kindness for a window of time.
The school believes that being kind and receiving consideration from others boosts pupils’ self-esteem and enhances relationships in school and family life, strengthening emotional wellbeing and resilience. For the initiative the school builds a lead team of staff and students and devotes time in staff meetings, RE classes, assemblies and prayer to communicate the core ideas. During the initial pilot week there were focal lunchtime events such as sessions making cards, making AOK wristbands, writing letters to prisoners of conscience, a Fairtrade café, film nights showing Pay it Forward and The Man who Planted Seeds. Students tweeted about Acts of Kindness, made a film on kindness, and set up a graffiti wall to write up Acts of Kindness they planned, saw, or experienced. Support staff, cleaners and others were fully involved. The parish too was involved from the organising stage onwards, and held an AOK week at the same time, with students and parishioners interacting in a range of ways.
Feedback by pupils was overwhelmingly positive. “Now everyone is trying to be kind to everyone. I think this should be part of our school’s core mission statement, so we do it all the time, and because kids are behaving better.” “I’ve been helping my mum and dad and I think they appreciated it. People have been doing nice little things like opening doors for each other. It was better than any other week.”
For anyone wanting to do something similar www.mindfulnessforChristians.com has some useful resources.