Afton-Lakeland kindergarteners spread kindness

December 05, 2017
student holding decorated cereal box

Students in Kim Schneider’s kindergarten class believe kindness is so important that they made it the number one rule of their Afton-Lakeland Elementary classroom. Inspired by their idea, Schneider decided to incorporate kindness into her Responsive Classroom approach throughout the year. Responsive Classroom focuses on the strong relationship between social-emotional learning and academic success. Schneider has her students practice kindness daily with one another by sharing, taking turns and using kind words.

“With this age it takes a lot of modeling and repeating,” said Schneider. “But parents are loving the kindness lessons and hearing the words, seeing the behaviors carried out at school, bus, and home.”

During this past month the kids’ focus turned towards passing it on to others, especially the school staff. They created “You Matter” posters for specialists, custodians, cafeteria and office staff.

Principal Malinda Lansfeldt says their efforts are being noticed by staff and students alike and are much appreciated.

“It's important for everyone in a school community to know they matter and are valued,” said Lansfeldt. “Ms. Schneider's kindergarten class has had an amazing impact at our school.”

Now the students are spreading cheer beyond their school walls. Thanks to a donation from Stillwater Cub Foods, they decorated cereal boxes with messages of kindness to give to Valley Outreach food shelf.

"Donations and positive messaging from kids of that age has a huge impact on not just the folks who visit the food shelf but on the community as a whole as it encourages engagement and giving," said Valley Outreach food shelf and clothing closet manager Megan Buchanan. "The St. Croix Valley is a very generous community and as such, we are able to regularly offer food donations from individuals, which shows our clients a community of caring and support."

Schneider says the students will continue to work on their writing skills and incorporate kind words and messages out into the local community. Her hope is to end the year in a bigger way outside of the St. Croix Valley.

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