Here are a few frequently asked questions about the Kindness in the Classroom program. If you have further questions, please let us know!
“Kindness in the Classroom” is an interactive, fun, evidence-based K-12 curriculum that uses kindness as a framework to teach social and emotional skills to students! The program was designed to bring intentional kindness instruction and practice together with social and emotional learning (SEL) skills.
Helping students become self-aware, able to self-manage, have greater social awareness, stronger relationships and an easier time making responsible decisions; this is why “Kindness in the Classroom” exists. They reflect these skills through expressions of kindness at school, at home and in their communities.
There are so many reasons! Aside from increased academic performance, SEL programs like “Kindness in the Classroom” improve attitudes and behaviors and reduce emotional distress. Students receiving the curriculum had greater empathy and sympathy for fellow students and teachers, were intrinsically motivated to be kinder and caring and showed decreased aggressive and antisocial behaviors. Interestingly, teachers reported they had significantly fewer conflicts with their students after teaching the curriculum and said they had more time for teaching… which means the students had more time for learning.
Teachers’ time is precious. With that in mind, the lessons are divided into several fun activities which can be taught for 30 minutes once a week. There are additional project ideas that can be completed over multiple days and give students a deeper level of understanding of the material they’ve just learned. Each lesson gives a time estimate to aid teachers in adapting the lesson into shorter class periods. Most teachers report needing no more than 15 minutes to prepare for the lessons.
If the curriculum is being implemented with fidelity, classrooms (and entire schools!) should observe a substantial climate change...for the better. Research conducted on the “Kindness in the Classroom” curriculum showed that those schools implementing the program saw increased empathy, greater peer acceptance, higher levels of intrinsic prosocial behavior and more noticeable positive emotions in the students. An easy way to measure the success of the program in your school is to look for fewer referrals to the office for discipline issues. That’s worth 30 minutes a week, right?
The fact that you’re even considering implementing SEL in your classroom means you’re already on the road to success. The next step is to get the school leadership on board and request professional development for the staff. Research suggests that leaders provide the structural support required for successful implementation by allowing for dedicated time to teach the lessons (see principal’s commitment). Your school leader could choose a site coordinator to help with ongoing support of the curriculum. They can also support a successful integration of the program by providing time for content specific training/professional development (see training section).
Leadership support is critical to successful school-wide implementation! A few ways of supporting the staff include:
Attend an introductory “Kindness in the Classroom” principal/teacher presentation.
Share information on “Kindness in the Classroom” with the school staff and school community, including parents. Host a presentation on the curriculum.
Allow for dedicated time to teach the curriculum.
Celebrate kindness during school assemblies, during morning announcements, at sporting events, in the hallways, etc.
Use kind/positive language in conversations with staff, students and parents.
See the Educator Guide for more ideas on how school leaders can support implementation
The curriculum is flexible. It can be started at any time during the school year and in any grade. It can be used in small groups in the classroom or as an entire school. Everything has been created in a way to fit seamlessly into any classroom and can be taught by paraprofessionals, teachers, psychologists, social workers, coaches, counselors and even student leaders.
The greatest impact will come when the curriculum is taught throughout the year, with fidelity in the entire school. To support a holistic approach of integrating SEL, class projects and home extension activities are included. Classroom toolkits and posters are also available for use all over the school campus to further reinforce student internalization of kindness skills.
Training is not required to use the curriculum, but it is encouraged. The lessons are designed for ease of use and minimal preparation. If your school is planning to use the curriculum within a grade level or throughout the school, it is beneficial to access our interactive online training platform and get acquainted.
Everything we offer, including training, is completely free of charge! Online training for staff may be taken for continuing education credit as well. We offer a 3-hour, on-site training at your school or district. The RAK staff will work with your team to develop an individualized training schedule to help you implement the curriculum school-wide.
Activities are sequentially built within each lesson unit, based on the kindness paradigm. The units are designed to help students develop their SEL skills through a process of being inspired, feeling empowered to be kind, acting on that feeling, and sharing their experiences. However, you may implement selected lessons and activities within a unit based on your needs.
“Kindness in the Classroom” is aligned to Common Core State Standards as well as the Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning standards. The curriculum is also aligned to many of the Colorado Academic standards including Comprehensive Health, Reading, Writing and Communicating, and Science.
The curriculum itself is free of charge and downloadable from our website. Many of the materials required for lessons are items that teachers and schools already have on hand. There are some suggested books that enhance the lessons which might need to be purchased. Teachers should plan on making enough copies of the handouts and worksheets to accommodate the students in their classrooms.
Through the Universal Design for Learning format, RAK has developed a comprehensive and inclusive curriculum. Each lesson includes tips for diverse learners to assist teachers with inclusivity. It is also encouraged to ‘pre-teach’ lessons to familiarize students with the content before they experience it in a large group. We’re always interested in hearing feedback from teachers about what has worked for them, as well!
The Kindness paradigm is a 4 step process that the RAK curriculum uses to help students increase in their social emotional competencies.
Step 1 (Inspire): Each lesson is designed to inspire students to explore various concepts of kindness through different learning modalities.
Step 2 (Empower): Teacher-led instruction and discussion sections are designed to empower students to assess how they can be kind in their daily lives.
Step 3 (Act): Students set an objective to act kindly in the future through a project or activity that provides students with a chance to practice or demonstrate kindness.
Step 4 (Share): Lesson activities conclude with students sharing and reflecting on their acts of kindness with the class and others.