Learning life lessons Preschool launches kindness project

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Blake Hunt
Central fourth grader Blake Hunt ties a message to a sucker that was given to a fifth grader as part of the Kindness Project.
Alexis Ingles
Alexis Ingles shows the candy canes and notes Central preschoolers placed on vehicles last week.
Drake Moser, Emersyn Wiley, and Alexis Ingles
Central students Drake Moser, Emersyn Wiley, and Alexis Ingles enjoy decorating Christmas cookies during a preschool-kindergarten get-together to launch the preschool Kindness Project.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

There’s truth to the old adage, “Kindness is a gift everyone can afford to give.” And if you need proof, look no further than Central Schools where the very youngest students last week launched a month-long kindness project that they hope will ultimately embrace all students, faculty and staff.

“During the month of December, the students will participate in one ‘kindness’ activity daily,” explained Central preschool teacher Caroline Erickson. “We are making goodies for the school board, bus drivers, janitors, cooks, nurses, police department and fire department. And we’re filling mugs for the teachers.”

The first activity on the kindness calendar was cookie decorating and games with the kindergarten class. At the end of their time together, the preschool class challenged the kindergartners to do something kind for the first grade students. The kindergartners responded by making puppy chow for the first graders who, in turn, gave second graders balloons filled with holiday jokes. The second grade class gave third graders a Christmas-themed “Look and Find” activity sheet.

The third grade made decorative Christmas cones for the fourth graders who then wrote positive messages to the fifth graders that they attached to suckers. At Register press time, the grade-to-grade project was still moving forward.

“We decided to do this because kindness is an important skill that everyone needs to learn,” said Erickson. “The students are excited each day to see what’s on the kindness calendar.”

Nothing stops the young do-gooders, either. Despite chilly temperatures last week, they were out placing candy canes tied to a simple note on the windshields of cars parked around the school.

In addition to being great fun, the kindness project fits with a district-wide emphasis on enhancing school pride and a positive culture.

“Like math and reading, positive behavior also needs to be taught,” said Nick Trenkamp, Central superintendent and elementary principal. “Our students celebrate monthly their work on being caring, committed, and safe. Central is also putting forth a stronger focus on employability skills and working collaboratively.”

“The kindness project, like many of our projects, is teacher led,” he continued. “Not only do we have this student-to-student kindness project going on, our staff has also adopted families for Christmas, the band department is greeting students in the morning with holiday music, the girl’s basketball team and student council are leading a food drive (see article on this page), and the Central staff is going caroling at the care center.”

“I’m very proud of the Central staff and student body and their willingness to give their time and talents to others. I don’t think there is anything greater we can teach our kids!”

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