“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”
From WONDER By R. J. Palacio
Throughout Roycemore School, we have been having conversations with students about the importance of kindness. This is not only valuable to create a positive environment at school but it makes a difference individually for students. Studies have shown that being kind actually increases oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin that makes us feel better overall and improve our mood!
In the Lower School, 3rd and 4th graders have engaged in an art and writing activity about being creative and kind. This is one of the many activities that will serve as a precursor to Leadership Week in the Lower School slated for the week of September 23rd that will focus on kindness to self, kindness to others, kindness to Roycemore, and kindness to community.
In the Middle School, discussions have been taking place where students are defining kindness, discussing ways they can show kindness to others, identifying ways they would like others to be kind to them, and suggesting ways they can communicate kindness to others. Homeroom and Advisory in the Middle School and Advisory in the Upper School provide opportunities to support students in building positive, meaningful relationships with one or more caring adults at school and to develop positive relationships with their peers in a safe and supportive environment.
A recent Upper School Advisory included a conversation among students after viewing a graduation speech delivered by then Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean, James Ryan, who has since become the President of the University of Virginia His talk, “5 Essential Questions in Life”,” had an underlying theme of kindness at the heart of his message.
This consistency in emphasizing the importance of community and of valuing each other is one way we help engender the positive environment for and among students at Roycemore. Our aim is to serve as a space that is somewhat counter-cultural to what might be happening in the culture outside of school that can often be shallow and self-centered. Intentionally teaching kindness is essential to building the type of environment that we believe in here at Roycemore, one that appreciates each student as an individual, ensures each student feels well-known, and where each student is supported to reach their full potential.