by Kathleen Stack, Elementary Division Social Worker
Every day at MMFS, we witness acts of kindness between our students. It’s often something small or subtle: a 5th floor student helping a younger student off the bus and up to their classroom; a student consoling a classmate who is upset or nervous; children pitching in to help a teacher clean up after an accidental spill of markers. It’s a wonderful thing to watch, but if you aren’t looking, you just might miss it.
The 5th Floor Community Kindness Count was created four years ago to capture those very moments: to “catch” students (and teachers!) being kind, document the kind acts and keep count over a period of time. It puts students and teachers of the Penn, Levi, Fry and Cuffe Rooms to the task of looking for opportunities to be kind, while noticing the kind acts of others.
This year, the 5th Floor Kindness Count will take place from February 1 until March 18, when students leave for Spring Break. Each classroom has been outfitted with a large jar and special slips on which students and teachers can write who they saw act in a kind way, what they saw them do, and then sign their name as a “witness.” At the end of each week, the slips are collected and the acts are posted on the 5th floor bulletin board with the names of the people who were “caught” being kind (and the witnesses) so everyone can see. The goal is to fill the bulletin board with kind acts!
We already know that doing something kind for someone else makes us feel better. But there is also some research that shows that even seeing a kind act can make us feel happier. This project combines both of these ideas in the hope of shining a light on the positive connections that exist in our 5th Floor Community at MMFS.