We usually notice when kids are being unkind and we try to intervene. “Remember to take turns, please” or “We don’t hit our friends” or “Are you making good choices?” are common phrases we use with young kids. But how often do we notice when they’re being kind?

Create a little space where you can notice successes in kindness. You can use poster board, butcher paper, a chalkboard or any other creative idea. Make sure that it’s low enough that kids can access it and write on it themselves without adult help.

Write “Caught Being Kind” at the top. Allow kids to approach the “caught being kind” area any time they wish. If someone does something kind for them, like help them with a problem, play with them at recess, share their crayons, etc., they can approach the wall and write that kind deed. (For young kids, you can write for them.)

When something is added to the wall, take a minute to read it aloud to the group. “It says, ‘Andre helped me pick up my pencil when I dropped it.’ Thank you, Andre, for doing a kind thing!” Then as a group you can agree on some appreciation signal, like saying, “Thanks!” or clapping three times, or doing a little cheer.

We like the idea of making squares on the “caught being kind” poster so that students can see it get full. But of course, be creative and make it your own!

Try adding this simple strategy and we think you’ll see that when we appreciate kind acts, they start to occur more and more often.

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