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Kindness goes into practice at Kelso Elementary

School sees uptick in consideration as Kindness Club develops

If you drop something in the hallway at Kelso Elementary School in Boring, chances are you’ll see a swarm of volunteers ready to help pick it up.

“(The students) look for every opportunity now,” said Principal Katie Schweitzer with a laugh. “If someone drops something, we’ve got multiple kids on it.”

The learning theme for the month at Kelso is "Kindness," and at the beginning of the month, staff members kicked off the school’s new Kindness Club.POST PHOTO: KYLIE WRAY - Posters around Kelso Elementary remind students to practice kindness. Their awareness might just get them named to the Kindness Club.

The theme stemmed from a desire to help the students gain social skills necessary to make friends and get along with others.

Kelso staff members developed a kindness check-list to give them something tangible to work with.

“You can tell a child to ‘be nice,’ but if they don’t know what that looks like, it can be hard,” Schweitzer explained.

Eventually, students and teachers wanted to get involved in spreading the kindness.

“Everybody sees a need to work on it in their classrooms,” Schweitzer said, adding, “you could probably say that for just about anybody.”

Now in its infancy, the Kelso Kindness Club is a way for students to take notice of the kind things they do at school, as well as the kindness that is extended to them.

Teachers keep a list of all the students and record if they or a friend reports a kind act. Once a student reaches 10 acts of kindness, they receive a certificate and are initiated into the Kindness Club.

Schweitzer said they plan to incorporate kindness into each of the monthly themes throughout the rest of the year.

In November, the theme is "Manners" and newly initiated Kindness Club members will get the chance to plan an activity around how manners are used in being kind.

The activity will be shared in Kelso’s family groups, a new addition to the school this year. Each adult is given a small group of children from all ages to work with on the month’s theme.

Through Kindness Club, the students of Kelso have been challenged to do as many random acts of kindness as they can — and the school is already seeing the effects.

“It’s very cool,” Schweitzer said. “We have a lot more kids thinking about it.”

Recently, when a group of young students was visiting the media lab, Schweitzer noticed one student pull out a chair for the teacher. The act of kindness was met with another student noting: “That was very considerate.”

Schweitzer marveled at the small act that might not have happened if it weren’t for the extra lessons given through the Kindness Club.

“We’re creating a culture of kindness here,” she added. “The ‘pleases,' 'thank yous’ and ‘hellos’ make a bigger difference than you would think. When you see kids walking down the hall and greet each other, that’s a huge deal.”

Schweitzer and other staff have seen a definite increase in small acts of kindness such as saying "hi" or opening a door for a classmate.

"We've seen a big boost in complimenting and saying 'thank you,'" she noted. "That's a life skill. It's an easy thing to do, but you have to practice it."

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