Letters and numbers are important but we also need to teach kindness to preschoolers.
How do we do that? Can we really teach someone to be kind? Yes, most definitely we can!
Preschoolers are eager to imitate the adults they are around so it’s essential we are modeling compassion, understanding, and empathy in the classroom. Our choice of words and tone of voice will be observed on a daily basis. The way we handle minor accidents and mistakes will be scrutinized. Preschoolers see and hear everything!
But don’t worry that it’s on all your shoulders. Here are a few ideas I want to share for teaching kindness at school.
Teaching Kindness with Preschool Books
One of the easiest ways to teach kindness is by reading stories to your class. My favorites include:
- The Kindness Book by Todd Parr – Kids LOVE the illustrations in Parr’s colorful books and are drawn to the simple text.
- Heartprints by P.K. Hallinan – One of my all-time favorite authors writes a sweet rhyming story of children who do little acts of kindness. They leave their heartprints along the way.
- At School Kindness Starts With You by Jacquelyn Stagg – A wonderful book describing ways children can do considerate things at school.
- Share a Little Kindness by Colleen Brunetti – This is a 2020 release which helps teach children to find the good in others.
- Kindness is My Superpower by Alicia Ortego – Good manners and making positive choices are highlighted in this children’s book.
- Kindness Rocks by Sonica Ellis – Incredible story featuring a little girl who makes an impact by painting messages on rocks and leaving them around town. You could even do a community service project after you read this book!
Bulletin Boards with a Kindness Theme
Do you need classroom decorating ideas that will also help teach kindness? Here are some incredible bulletin boards and door displays I found! They are simple but make a big impact!
Kindness Games & Activities for the Classroom
Teachers who engage students in fun and meaningful activities will be successful when they’re teaching kindness to preschoolers!
These kindness cards have pictures of kids making considerate choices. I use the cards at circle time when we discuss how to be kind at school. The kindness cards are great for playing a memory matching game, too. I printed two sets of cards and placed them face down in a pocket chart. My students took turns picking two cards and tried to make a match. They LOVED this game so much that I put in out as a morning Table Time choice and during free centers!
My preschoolers also liked coloring the I Can Be Kind at School booklet. I printed one copy to read to the class during large group time. Later in the day, I called students to my small group table. As we colored the booklets, we reviewed how to be helpful to others. These little books were a good way to let parents know we were learning about kindness at school.
Dr. Jean’s KIND Heart Story is a “must do” when you’re teaching how kindness matters. The best thing about the story is you can adapt it to the needs of your class. If you have students not including a peer or calling someone a mean name, you can include those situations when you tell the kind heart story. The visual of a broken heart with torn pieces makes a gentle impact on children and helps them understand how important it is to be kind.
Help your students discover ways they can be thoughtful and compassionate at school. Focus on doing a simple kind act each day to build your classroom community. Teaching kindness to preschoolers will have a lasting impact on your students, you, and our world.