The Great Kindness Challenge

The Great Kindness Challenge is dedicated to creating and experiencing a culture of kindness on campuses nationwide.

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The Great Kindness Challenge

The Great Kindness Challenge is dedicated to creating and experiencing a culture of kindness on campuses nationwide. All FMS students received a Great Kindness Challenge checklist with 50 kind deeds suggested. Nearly two million students in 3,639 schools across the country participated in the challenge; each one bringing the power and focus of doing kind acts to their schools.

FMS participated in “The Great Kindness Challenge,” a week long event sponsored by Kids for Peace and by Dignity Health. Kids for Peace was started by two women, Danielle Gram and Jill McManigal, in 2006. Much of their philosophy mirrors the Montessori vision of cultivating peace mindfully and developing interpersonal tools for conflict resolution. FMS was delighted to participate in this worthy event creating intentional acts of kindness on our campus.

Love Lights

L1080638Many of you have seen your child come home with a little, yellow felt circle pinned to their shirts, representing their “love lights.” This is actually the fourth, inner circle representing the spirit of a person. As we have progressed through our peace lessons this year we have expanded our awareness of the four aspects of a person; body, mind, emotions and spirit. The largest circle represents body, followed by mind, then emotions and in the center is the yellow, spirit circle.

L1080620As an extension of learning about the body, Ms. Melissa spent time recently talking about the spinal cord and its very important function of connecting commands sent to the mind, and executing the command through the body. She played the game of “Simon Says” with the children and they got to experience the sensation of really listening to the instructions, or not, and feeling the disconnect when they realized they had moved with out the “Simon Says” directive.L1080601

We explored the five senses this week and the children were quickly able to isolate which of their five senses they had used to match color tablets, identify sounds with their eyes closed, smell the difference between an orange and a piece of chocolate, and watch Ms. Melissa grade (put in order) the wooden cylinders with her eyes closed using only her sense of touch to guide her.IMG_0104

These lessons help the children identify aspects of themselves that they have in common with each other and it gives them labels that help them communicate more clearly with each other.
Sometimes, when a child is having a hard time emotionally, it simply is a matter of helping them identify their emotions, such as “were you mad about that?” You can see the tension drain from them as they know that they have been heard and they are more willing to soften their stance and work through the disagreement.

P1040117Every peace lesson is closed with “Making Silence”, a centering exercise that is as simple as it is profound. We encourage you to ask your child about it and if you want, let them lead you through it. Here are the words:

I cross my legs,
I place my hands on my knees,
I make my back very straight,
I tell my body to be still,
I tell my mouth to be quiet,
I take a deep breath,
I close my eyes,
I make silence and feel my love