Most people learn about compassion from their family members and/or leaders of religious organizations. A school in Ireland, however, is setting a new precedent by ditching homework for one month and, instead, assigning “acts of kindness” to its students.
According to Upworthy, students who attend Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Uí Choileáin in Clonakilty have been assigned “acts of kindness” in replacement of “traditional homework” – for one month, at least. On Mondays, the kids are asked to reach out to an elderly individual and communicate with them. On Tuesdays, the students are tasked with making a family member’s life easier by taking over a chore or helping without being asked. Wednesdays are for random acts of kindness of any kind. Thursdays are for doing something compassionate for themselves or to take care of their own mental and physical well-being.
In the weeks leading up to the holidays, the kids are asked to keep track of the kind deeds in a Kindness Diary. The school has also set up a Kindness Bucket where students can write down and deposit positive observations and affirmations to boost their fellow classmates’ esteem. On Friday mornings, a teacher randomly selects a handful of notes and reads them out loud.
That’s not all – each class has also been tasked with cooperating in a collective act of kindness for the community. The challenge is brainstormed by the students then conducted as a team. A Facebook post reveals that the unconventional curriculum has been in place for the past three years. The result is reportedly overwhelmingly positive and deemed to be a huge success.
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Clonakilty Gaelscoil pupils undertaking kindness acts in lieu of December homework!!For the third year running, pupils…
“We are encouraging our pupils to think of the real spirit of Christmas, the spirit of kindness and giving,” said Vice Principal Íde Ní Mhuirí. “With such an emphasis on the materialistic and commercial aspect of Christmas, we often tend to overlook what it’s really all about…. Good will!”
Imagine if schools everywhere adopted a similar program. Perhaps instilling the values of empathy and compassion at a young age would help kids and teenagers better adjust to the world as they grow. At the very least, the curriculum would demonstrate how one of the most pressing issues in the modern world isn’t lack of knowledge but a lack of shared values that compel our species to care about one another.
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IMAGE CREDIT: Oksana Bratanova