Kindness in the Classroom

Elementary SELect Program

Program Design and Implementation Support

Kindness in the Classroom is a skills promotion program for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The elementary school edition uses free-standing lessons to promote social and emotional learning. Each grade level includes sixteen lessons designed to be delivered in the classroom for 30-45 minutes once a week. Each week also includes an optional project to enhance the lesson.

The program is framed around 12 Kindness Concepts: assertiveness, caring, compassion, fairness, gratitude, integrity, helpfulness, perseverance, respect, responsibility, self-care, and self-discipline. These concepts are presented in ways that are differentiated for each grade to account for students’ developmental levels. In addition, each lesson includes tips for how to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of diverse learners. The program also includes kindness “tool kits” with additional activities teachers can use to support and scaffold student learning.

All lessons in Kindness in the Classroom follow four steps: Inspire, Empower, Act, Reflect, Share. Lessons support student learning through multiple modalities, including: role-plays, visual clips, discussions, games, and cooperative learning activities. Kindness in the Classroom is translated into Spanish and Mandarin.

Implementation Support

Kindness in the Classroom offers a six-hour training as their standard professional development model. This can be completed in a single day or split across multiple training sessions.

  • The first few hours of the standard training are focused on adults, providing participants with tools they can use to foster resilience in their own lives.
  • Next, participants present lessons to one another to experience the student-centered curriculum first-hand.
  • Finally, there is time for implementation planning and problem-solving around barriers schools might have.

Classroom teachers, administrators, and all school staff are encouraged to participate in the training and help think through building a positive school culture. The Kindness in the Classroom training manual, which provides a step-by-step script with all materials included, is available online and accessible to educators who were not able to participate in the training in person.

Kindness in the Classroom also offers a two-day Train-the-Trainer model to support sustainability, and participants who successfully complete this training receive a certificate. In addition, Kindness in the Classroom offers technical assistance through in-person visits (locally) or by phone.

Evidence of Effectiveness

Results from a randomized control trial conducted in 2018 supported the effectiveness of Kindness in the Classroom with elementary school students. The evaluation included 586 students who were in 4th and 5th grade (83% spoke English as their 1st language and the average SES of the neighborhood in which the school was located was $58,054 (CAD)). This evaluation found that elementary school students who participated in the program had higher teacher and peer ratings of prosocial behaviors (i.e., teacher ratings = perspective-taking, gratitude, perseverance, intrinsic prosocial motivation, altruism, empathy, peer acceptance, & closeness; peer ratings = takes views), and engaged in less anti-social behaviors compared to students in the control group (outcomes reported 16 weeks after baseline while controlling for pretest scores).

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Whitehead, J., Maloney, J., Binfet, J. T., & Roeser, R. W. (2018). Effectiveness of the Kindness in the Classroom curriculum in elementary school children: A randomized controlled trial. Unpublished manuscript, University of British Columbia-Vancouver