The 13th of November is World Kindness Day, and what better way to celebrate than by doing something to make your school a kinder place?

What is in act of Kindness?

An act of kindness is an action designed to make the world a kinder place. A kind act is a good deed done to show compassion and love for another person, without any expectation of getting anything in return. It helps others feel good, instead of bad. It improves wellbeing, rather than diminishing it.  It costs nothing but can be priceless.

Kind acts can be done for anyone, whether you know them or not. You might do something nice for someone to make them feel happy, valued, or appreciated.

Acts of kindness in a school can be between pupils, staff or pupils and staff, they can also involve all key stakeholders and the local community. Everyone can get involved with simple acts of kindness that can make a big difference to the wellbeing of the whole school community.

Schools that champion a positive education approach, (the science of wellbeing positive psychology in educational settings), often use kindness activites for promoting wellbeing and positive mental health.

Kindness Day

World Kindness Day falls during anti-bullying week, so take the opportunity to talk about kindness as an approach to prevent bullying, developing kindness really is the opposite of bullying as it cultivates positive relationships and acceptance.

Practising and celebrating kindness day (or week) can be done through assemblies, class discussions, or other creative practical activities. Below provides 10 practical activities that build kindness and help improve wellbeing.

Random Acts of Kindness Day

Another annual kindness day is 'Random Acts of Kindness Day' is celebrated every year on February 17th as a way to encourage individuals to perform acts of kindness towards others without expecting anything in return. The idea is that the act is random and unexpected or spontaneous rather than a more planned approach to kindness activities.

World Kindness Day or Random Acts or Kindness day are great opportunities for schools to promote positive relationships essential for well-being and build a positive school community and climate.

How kindness improves wellbeing at school

Kindness has an impact on children's wellbeing by making them feel happier and more connected to others.  It can also help reduce stress and feelings of anxiety and protect mental health. When kindness is practised regularly, it can create a more positive school culture overall.

An act of kindness can boost wellbeing of both the person completing the act as well as the person receiving the act as the act itself boosts 'positive affect' which is the ability to experience positive emotions and gives a 'warm fuzzy' feeling of wellbeing

Developing kindness can be a useful wellbeing strategy that is an essential part of a wellbeing framework or wider universal wellbeing curriculum. For example, a kindness lesson could be part of your wider PHSE, RSE or mental health curriculum. World Kindness day in November or Random Acts of Kindness Day on the 17th of February are great ways to launch a wider school ethos and culture of kindness as a way to cultivate wellbeing.

Kindness Day Activities

Below are ten practical ideas for Kindness Day activities that you can do with your students, staff, and whole school community.

1. Make a kindness chain!

Each person in the school writes or draws something they are thankful for on a paper chain link. You can add links to the chain throughout the day as more people participate. By the end of the day, you'll have a visual representation of all the things that make your school community great.

2. Do a kindness scavenger hunt!

Give each person or group a list of kind acts to do around the school (e.g., hold the door open for someone, say hello to 5 people you don't know, pick up litter). The first group to complete the list wins a prize!

3. Make kindness rocks!

Painting rocks with positive messages is a great way to spread some cheer around your school grounds. Students can take one home with them or keep them at school to brighten up someone's day.

4. Brainstorm ways to make your school even kinder!

Hold a whole-school assembly or small group discussion to get ideas from everyone about how we can make our school an even better place. Implement some of the ideas on Kindness Day or in the days and weeks following.

5. Encourage random acts of kindness

Encourage pupils to perform random acts of kindness for their classmates, teachers, and school staff.

Random acts of kindness boost wellbeing in both the giver and the receiver of the act of kindness. Ask the pupils to prepare their own list of random acts, this can be something as simple as holding the door open for someone or offering to help carry someone's books.

The important thing is to make sure they are random (rather than suggested), as it is the unexpected nature of the kindness act has a greater impact on improving wellbeing levels.

Research from positive psychologists also tells us it is more effective  for boosting levels, research found that 5 acts of random kindness a week will increase your level of happiness for up to 3 months

6. Community acts of kindness

Your school is an important part of the local community, explore how can your school pupils do acts of kindness in the local community. This video explains how one school started there academic year off with an approach to celebrating kindness and the impact that had on the pupils, school and local community.

7. Make kindness jars

Encourage everyone in the school to write down acts of kindness they have seen or done on slips of paper and pop them into a kindness jar. At the end of the day/week/month, count up the acts of kindness and celebrate them, you can save these for a special celebration on kindness day.

8. Learn about empathy

Run an assembly or teach lessons about empathy as an approach to being kind to others. This can involve sharing stories of people that have shown great empathy to others as well as discussing what it means to experience empathy as part of a positive relationship. empathy is important for wellbeing as it helps us understand and share the feelings of another person.

9. Give out kindness awards

On Kindness Day, recognise students who have shown kindness throughout the year with awards or certificates. This is a great way to recognise pupils that may not get awards for academic achievement but show kindness and caring as a strength they have.

10. Staff or teacher acts of kindness

Staff in schools can also het involved by doing kind acts for one another. To work it is important this dosen't feel forced but that staff or teachers have the option to take part in doing kind acts for other staff members, these may include leaving a treat in their pigeon hole, sharing some positive feedback or celebrating an accomplishment.

No matter how you choose to celebrate Kindness Day, Random Acts of Kindness Day or Random Acts of Kindness Week in your school, remember that it's about making a conscious effort to be kinder to each other every day. A little act of kindness can go a long way in making someone feel valued, appreciated, and connected, which is an essential strategy for whole school wellbeing and mental health.

Kindness Day Resources for schools

This downloadable wellbeing poster and action planning worksheet promote being kind to yourself or others as a helpful strategy for positive mental health.  You could use it as part of your kindness day celebrations. Download the wellbeing poster for FREE here.

Looking for practical wellbeing activities to use with pupils? Download our free Wellbeing Activity Booklet and gain 6 practical evidence based wellbeing strategies used and recommended by young people

Developing a culture of kindness, teaching and learning about kindness is just is one of the wellbeing strategies we share in our DfE Assured Wellbeing Club, which provides resources and training for school mental health leads. Find out how you can access £1200 from the Department for Education to cover the costs of joining Wellbeing Club for 12 months.

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