Planning For It

When You Might Use This Practice

  • Daily or weekly
  • At the start of a school day, to close a class, during a classroom meeting, or as part of a mentoring-buddy program
  • When you or your students are experiencing tension, anger, or anxiety
  • To help students get along better with others
  • To cultivate a positive classroom and school climate

 

Time Required

  • 10-15 minutes

 

Materials

  • None

 

Learning Objective

  • Students will practice extending positive wishes and kindness to others

 

Additional Supports

 

SEL Competencies

  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Skills

How To Do It

Reflection Before the Practice

Take a few deep breaths and consider colleagues, friends, students, and strangers you might send good wishes to before you begin. If you like, you may try this Loving-Kindness Meditation that includes a script and audio recording.

Instructions

This practice, from Susan Kaiser Greenland’s Mindful Games, is a wonderful adaptation of Loving-kindness meditation for older children and adults.

  • Ask students:
    • What does it mean to visualize or imagine something? What are friendly wishes?
    • We’re going to imagine that we’re sending our friendly wishes to the world in a big, floating ball.
    • Let’s start by pretending to hold the ball together. Put your hands out and help me hold the ball, like this.
    • What does the ball look like? What color is it? Is it sparkly? Does it have polka dots or stripes? Close your eyes and see if you can picture it.
    • Now we’ll take turns putting our friendly wishes in the ball. Who has a friendly wish for the world? (Help children name their wishes and mime putting them in the ball. Explain that with each wish, the ball gets bigger and heavier.)
    • Let’s count to three and then throw the ball up into the sky together: one, two, three. Wave good-bye and imagine that the ball is bringing our wishes to everyone, everywhere.

 
 

Closure

  • Invite students to describe their experience with this activity. Ask them what they noticed when they imagined sending good wishes to others. Ask students to discuss the reasons why this activity might be worth doing again in the future.

 

Extension

 

Further Reading

  • For more information on how to adapt loving-kindness meditation for younger children, see the following article by Christine Carter, Ph.D.

 

Source

Excerpted from Mindful Games by Susan Kaiser Greenland © 2016 by Susan Kaiser Greenland. Illustrations © 2016 by Lindsay DuPont. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. Shambhala.com

Reflection After the Practice

How did students respond to this practice? Do you notice if they are expressing more positive emotions or are more optimistic as a result?

The Research Behind It

Evidence That It Works

Researchers have discovered that toddlers as young as 14-months demonstrate a natural capacity for kindness, but this capacity must be nurtured through healthy relationships with adults and peers—the foundation of a positive school climate.

 

Why Does It Matter?

Studies have found that kind students who are well-liked by their peers are helpful, cooperative, and emotionally well-adjusted. In addition, students who show kindness at a young age achieve greater academic and social success in the long-run.

This practice, inspired by loving-kindness meditation (which has been found to have a positive impact on adults’ empathy, compassion, and social connection), cultivates young students’ innate kindness by asking them to send friendly wishes to the world.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
–Aesop