Children and students are shaped by their school years into young adults influencing what their role in society will be in the future. In the 21st Century, children and adolescents are exposed to increased risks which may include bullying, mental health issues, domestic violence and suicide. Challenges that influence their identities can include questions of gender identity and sexual orientation. Our educational settings can be safe places where children and students seek clarity and share experiences and feelings.
The aim of the Kindness Curriculum is to provide activities that teachers can utilise in classrooms to address and explore social emotional and pro-social skills and traits that support wellbeing. Scientific studies have shown that kindness has a number of physical and emotional benefits, encouraging well-rounded individuals who can flourish cognitively, emotionally and socially. It is recommended that engagement in these activities take into consideration:
- school policies
- school strategy and missions
- class contexts
- student demographics, and
- teacher experience
Importantly, the Kindness Curriculum and associated activities are not a substitute for, and should not be relied upon as, medical, mental or other heath advice. Further, not all teachers have the knowledge or experience to deal with mental health needs that present in their classrooms. It is recommended that School Leadership teams are consulted and advised of particularly concerning events and disclosures that occur in the classroom (in accordance with School policies). Clinical care providers, with certain specialist expertise, may need to be consulted in particular circumstances. Clinical care providers include psychiatrists, specialist mental health nurses, psychologists, general practitioners and others with specialised mental health training.