‘Kindness jar’: A children’s book, lots of marbles, and plenty of post-it notes are being used to teach young FH Clergue pupils how to be good to each other
Twenty-five FH Clergue French Immersion Public School Kindergarten students rode their colorfully decorated bicycles in formation around the school’s playground between 11 am and 12 pm Wednesday before enjoying a pizza party.
But the group wasn’t just celebrating a pleasant spring day.
The bicycle ride around the school was a “kindness parade,” celebrating a unique type of learning launched by teacher Rachel Laurenti and educational assistant Lisa Foggia.
It all started when Foggia received a children’s hardcover book — kind by Alison Green — as a birthday gift.
“It says every time you do something nice and kind for somebody, put a marble in a good jar. It’s at a child’s level, a book about kindness. i love it. It has questions in it asking ‘what can you do to be kind today?’ It’s thought provoking and encouraging a culture of kindness for the kids. In our class it’s all about being kind, compassionate and asking how can I help?” Foggia told SooToday.
Inspired by the book, Laurenti and Foggia set up a teach in one of FH Clergue’s Kindergarten classrooms and encouraged the students to fill it up with marbles by performing acts of kindness for their classmates.
That was at the start of 2023.
Now the jar is full of marbles.
There are yellow post-it notes on one of the classroom’s walls listing names of students and what acts of kindness they’ve done for their classmates.
They include helping each other put toys away, sharing Pokemon cards, holding the door open for others, cleaning another student’s glasses, saying ‘good job’ during a math activity and even helping one student pick a name for her new baby sister.
“We told them when the kindness jar gets full, should we have a party? Everyone was so excited,” Foggia said.
“It’s important to do that and then to celebrate it with this kind parade and a pizza party.”
“The children now have much more motivation to show us acts of kindness. They tell us about them and we celebrate them by putting up those post-it notes,” Laurenti said.
“We read through those post-it notes with them and spoke about how kindness makes us feel good.”
“It’s very rare in a classroom that you get to see kindness grow. We’ve been watching the number of marbles grow in the jar as a very tangible way of showing the children how our acts of kindness are growing, and then we just keep up the momentum and say let’s keep going, let’s fill it up,” Laurenti said.
Laurenti and Foggia said they would continue with the book kind and the jar of marbles as learning tools in the next school year.
“When we’re celebrating kindness and talking about it, it becomes just as normal as doing literacy and math every day. It’s part of our everyday programming and the children take ownership of it and want it to be kind,” Laurenti said.