Yes! Like reading or math, kindness is a skill that you can cultivate. Studies show that, with training and practice, you can actually strengthen your compassion muscles and improve your “kindness fitness.”
It’s easy to think of kindness as an innate talent, something you either possess... or don’t. But that’s not the case. Kindness is a skill – and like any skill, it can be developed with practice and repetition.
That’s what the RAK curriculum provides: proven techniques that parents and teachers can use to help kids developed their kindness skills – through understanding the value of kindness, and how it can permanently boost their social and emotional competencies.
At its core, our kindness program is based around one fundamental tenet: that being kind isn’t just about doing something nice for someone – it’s about being good to yourself, and understanding how empathy, compassion, respect, gratitude and integrity can improve every interaction you have in your life.
There’s nothing quite like seeing these skills being developed first- hand.
Just ask Ms. Platt, who has been teaching our ‘Kindness in the Classroom’ program for five years now. She tells us that, along with her students’increased engagement levels, she has seen friendships blossom in unlikely places, smiles and laughter occur more frequently, and her job get markedly easier.
That last part is just a nice bonus, of course.
So we’ve got evidence that kindness can be taught... but why is it teachable?
One of our heroes, Dr. Robert Roeser, has a great way of answering that question.
He believes kindness exists inside us from birth, but that it needs to be nurtured to flourish. And as counter-intuitive as it may seem, this nurturing generally occurs during the times when we’re dealing with stress or conflict – because difficult times give us a chance to develop the skills we need to process and regulate our emotions.
One of the most important of these skills to develop is the ability to consciously recognise the emotion that we’re feeling, so that we can deal with it – and it’s that same skill that builds kindness, by helping us remember our positive intentions so we can more productively towards them.
But you don’t have to wait for adversity to strike to develop this skill – it can be practiced so it becomes second nature, just like riding a bike. And isn’t that a fantastic discovery? Not only can kindness be learned – it doesn’t have to be learned the hard way!
We think our curriculum is pretty great – but of course, we would. Thankfully, you don’t have to take our word for it. We happen to know some fantastic researchers, and they’ve all tested our curriculum rigorously. And guess what? They all said our program is incredibly effective. You can imagine what a relief that was for us!
According to their research, teachers using our curriculum report feeling more connected to their students; seeing more kindness in their classrooms, halls and on the playgrounds; and noticing their students demonstrating more empathic, caring traits… and improving academically!
That’s a whole lot of good news… but it doesn’t stop there. They’ve also witnessed improved trust amongst staff, fewer referrals to the office, more respect between students, and a generally more positive school and classroom culture!
The best news of all, though, is that you can get all this in only 20-30 minutes each week. Sound too good to be true? We can understand that. But you can read the research findings for yourself here – and we promise you'll find the same results for yourself once you start using our materials. Give it a shot.Read the report
"It's become quite clear that modern education ought to encompass more than just academics, and that matters of the heart must be taken seriously and nurtured as a matter of priority." —Lisa Currie (Why Teaching Kindness in Schools is Essential to Reduce Bullying)
It can be a bit of a social taboo to ask why you should be kind. Thankfully, you don’t even have to ask – because Lisa Currie already has the answer. In her article, she talks about why teaching kindness is vital in overcoming the problem of bullying... but also why kindness is beneficial overall.
Short on time? Let us give you the highlights
According to Lisa, teaching kindness improves a child’s:
Sense of belonging
Acceptance of their peers
Appreciation of their circumstance.
Not only that, it also reduces their:
Likelihood to bully peers.
That’s a pretty comprehensive set of benefits, right?
Lisa’s not the only one who believes in the power of teaching kindness
There are many wonderful articles out there about teaching kindness benefits students academically and socially. Here are two of our favourites:
The evidence is growing every day .
We all know being kind is worthwhile. But, as it turns out, it’s even more worthwhile than any of us realized – because we now know that dedicating just a few minutes each week to kindness has a hugely beneficial impact on your wellbeing and success. Frankly, we're surprised doctors aren't prescribing kindness to their patients!
When you read the research about the benefits of kindness, it sounds great. But, trust us—nothing compares to seeing and experiencing these changes for yourself.
So, let's make that happen!
Our lessons include 12 kindness concepts which, when used consistently, provide students a scaffold to build the necessary skills to move from self-awareness to action.
When you see that ‘action’ in action, you’ll be amazed. We promise.
An extra measure of success
According to a CASEL (the Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning) study, 93% of teachers believe it’s important to teach SEL—and 95% of them believe it can be taught.
Their confidence was well founded—because the study also found that teachers who included SEL programs in their instruction saw an 11-17% increase in the academic scores of their students.
Let’s deconstruct that for a second: spending 30 minutes a week on integrating SEL into the classroom could potentially raise your kids’ scores by a full letter grade, or more!
As far as return-on-investments go, we think that’s about as good as it gets!Read the report