A primary school in Cork has swapped homework for acts of kindness in December
This is so lovely.
December is a busy time a year for families. There are so many things happening, from end-of-year ballet shows to carol services and class Secret Santa and present shopping. So busy, in fact, that it can be hard to take a moment and ponder what this season really is – or, at least, should be – about.
However, it seems the Gaelscoil Mhichil Ui Choileain in Clonakilty, Cork, has the right idea.
Instead of homework this month, teachers have asked their pupils to carry out random acts of kindness for their families and the local community.
Sweet? I know. The children have then been asked to record their acts of kindness in a special ‘Dialann Cineáltais’ (kindness diary).
The school said: ‘Pupils at Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Uí Choileáin, Clonakilty will not have any formal homework for the month of December.’
‘Instead, they are asked to carry out acts of kindness and giving to others in their families and community – and to record these in a special Kindness Diary.’
In a Facebook post, the Cork school said that it is building on the “overwhelming success and positivity” of last year’s Gratitude Diaries, when children and their families documented the small things they are grateful for in their lives.
This year, the teachers asked the children to take a slightly more proactive approach and come up with little acts of kindness they could do for members of their family, friends or someone in their local community.
“We are encouraging our pupils to think of the real spirit of Christmas, the spirit of kindness and giving," explained vice-principal Íde Ní Mhuirí to Echo Live.
“With such an emphasis on the materialistic and commercial aspect of Christmas, we often tend to overlook what it’s really all about: Good will. Unfortunately, not everyone is in a position to be able to enjoy Christmas - some are lonely, some are sad, some might yearn for what they do not have and some might simply not enjoy the festivities."
The vice-principal goes on to explain that there is nobody in this world who wouldn’t benefit from an act of kindness, and the joy of kindness is that it costs nothing.
"Suggested acts of kindness this year include students visiting or sending a Christmas card to an elderly neighbour or relative who may be lonely; helping out with household chores at home; undertaking random acts of kindness to brighten the lives of those around them and make somebody’s day a better one; an act of self-care to promote self-esteem and positivity; or spending some time doing something they love which makes them feel good about themselves."
And this school's focus on kindness and positivity doesn't end there.
As well as the Kindness Diary initiative, there will be a “Buicéad Cineáltais” (kindness bucket) in school, where the children can place kind “observations" about their peers which the school hopes will boost the self-esteem of those around them. Each Friday morning at the assembly a random selection of these observations will be shared to emphasise how small acts and kind words can make huge differences in somebody’s life.
“In this world, consumed by social media, where our young people are constantly experiencing pressure, there is no better way to show them the way forward in the world than by practising kindness,” explained vice principal Ní Mhuirí.
“Our message to the children is very simple: They can be the reason somebody smiles today and they can definitely help make this world a better place for others and for themselves."
We think this is such a beautiful idea, and hope other schools follow suit!