Students bring their own level of experience to any concept that is taught in the classroom, including kindness. Enter: Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the theoretical underpinning for our curriculum. UDL provides a flexible approach that can be customized for individual needs and meet students where they are. Combine that with activities that inspire students to actively engage in learning our 12 Kindness Concepts, and you've got yourself a happy classroom.
We've established that Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is objectively and measurably beneficial for kids. But what does SEL have to do with kindness? We're so glad you asked!
Our ‘Kindness in the Classroom' program was created to integrate intentional kindness skill building instruction with the development of social and emotional competencies.
There's a lot to read about kindness here on our website. But one of the most beautiful things about kindness is the purity of its ease and simplicity. That's reflected in our Kindness Paradigm, which is what we call the simple, four-step cycle that we've based our entire program around.
Here's how it works
STEP 1 - INSPIRE
Whether its through video, role-play, books, games, or another hands-on activity, each kindness lesson is designed to inspire students. That way, teachers aren't just informing – they're using their imaginations and applying their natural ingenuity.
STEP 2 - EMPOWER
Inspiration is good – but it doesn't become transformative until students are given the tools that will let them act on that inspiration. With that in mind, the next step is for teachers to lead the class through discussions designed to empower students to find ways to be kind in their daily lives.
STEP 3 - ACT
You might be able to guess what's coming next. Once students have the ideas and the tools to act on those ideas, the next step (of course) is help students put those ideas into action. It might be a research project, it might be community service, it might be something else entirely – but regardless of the form, the program will have students bringing real, tangible kindness into the world.
STEP 4 - SHARE
At this point, students will have experienced how great it feels to perform acts of kindness. And what does everyone want to do after doing something cool (besides ‘do it again')? Talk about it, of course!
Next, we ask students to reflect on what they've done through dialog, written responses or a visual product (which includes everything from illustrations to full-blown ‘walls of kindness'). This reinforces what they've learned and experienced, and makes it far more likely that they'll begin the kindness cycle again themselves.
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Now we're getting to the meat and potatoes! The RAK lessons are designed to actively engage every learner at their own developmental level, so they can begin to internalize kindness. To do that, we've laid each lesson out in a simple, easy-to-follow way, with the core subjects integrated throughout.
You can never let yourself stray from your guiding principles. All of our education materials are based on 12 concepts that support SEL skills – with each lesson focusing on specific kindness concepts. Would you like to know more about them?
Don't sweat! These aren't the sort of assessments you need to stress about. They're just here to help you identify ways that you can grow, care for yourself and make sure you're getting as much out of our program as you can. By using them as a guide to evaluating yourself and your students' current level of growth, they give you an opportunity to assess how well you're incorporating the materials into the classroom and what steps might be taken to help you further develop your students' kindness skills.
Sometimes pretty pictures are the answer. We've created beautiful posters relating to each of our kindness concepts, which help to reinforce what's taught in our program. Visual learners (and those still learning English) find the posters particularly helpful… plus, you'll obviously be the coolest teacher in school if you have these gorgeous things hanging on your wall!