Wagoner Students Prove You’re Never Too Young to Lead by Example

Wagoner School, a K-2 building, decided to participate in Teach Kindness to continue our goal of creating a secure place for our learners to feel valued and appreciated each and every day. The challenge fit in with our educators’ commitment this school year to enrich their understanding of trauma-informed educational practices so we could better serve students. 

Each day, every classroom would begin the morning with a community circle. These circles provided an opportunity for students to talk about how to be kind, mention acts of kindness they participated in, and share ideas for how to expand kindness within our school and community. 

At Wagoner, we have students who are surrounded by difficult life situations, of which they do not have control over, but must rise above. Teach Kindness gave our students the ability to know firsthand how powerful an effect kindness can have on each person and the world around them. 

One of the projects we did as part of the challenge included creating a sign on our playground fence using red solo cups placed in the slots to spell out “Be Kind.” It served as a nice reminder to students to always practice kindness, and they could see it on the playground and from their classroom windows. 
“I’ve never heard so many children remind each other to be kind before!” – Mrs. Thomas, staff member and recess monitor
Students decorated the hallways with posters and positive messages, and we also challenged our learners to take kindness with them outside of school and share it with their families and the community. Our student council partnered with the Sauk Village to support a food drive for families in need. In our community, Kindness and Wagoner became one in the same! 

Teach Kindness took our school to the next level. Teachers have seen firsthand a tremendously positive culture form in their classrooms. We’ve seen an increase in positive behaviors and verbal praise as well as an increase in attendance thanks to having such a welcoming environment! 

Damari, a second grade student, has really been moved by the challenge and embraced the idea of being a peer mediator. He will immediately counsel other students, offer words of encouragement, or offer to assist administration if a classmate needs emotional or behavior support. He is Wagoner’s champion of kindness and an excellent example of how teaching kindness can resonate with young students! Damari is working with his class to start a Kindness Club.
“I am being kinder, and this will help me when I get into the older grades.” – Damari, 2nd grade
Students see how helping others is an act of kindness, and it’s caused a ripple effect. For example, a teacher was subbing in another’s teacher’s class when a student said they did not have the supplies they needed. Another student immediately offered supplies to them. Once the students recognized how positively a kind act is received, they all wanted to help out.
Now, students come to school looking to share life stories and problems they face during community circles. They find comfort in each other’s stories and develop strong friendships from their similarities, while also now understanding that differences enhance our community.  

Wagoner is uplifting and strengthening our community by having our youngest residents spread a powerful message that kindness can make our world a better place!