Our guidance classes for National Bullying Prevention Month focused on cultivating kindness and empathy through taking initiative in everyday social interactions.
Early Years classes explored ways to build friendships and brainstormed characteristics of being a good friend, even when one’s beliefs and preferences differ from others’. We practiced sharing both stories and classroom materials with one another and reflected on the importance of showing kindness.
Elementary School classes took a closer look at bullying and how it plays out and affects others both inside and outside the classroom. We talked about seeing the situation from both sides — bullies and those being bullied — and the costs of being a bystander. We also explored social dynamics in the classroom and discussed how to avoid tattling and leaving people out.
Middle School classes explored safeguarding against bullying by building self-esteem. We discussed positive and negative self-talk and how to productively engage with thoughts that normally weigh us down. We did activities that helped us consider bullies’ motivations and what people being bullied would want bullies to know about them.
High School classes discussed how to resolve conflicts in relationships through honest, nonjudgmental communication and self-reflection. We talked about different strategies for expressing emotions without blaming, being aggressive, or inciting misunderstandings. We also discussed how to be more aware of our emotional tendencies and communicative styles to facilitate conflict resolution.
EY/ES students were given a paper heart and instructed to crumple it, then try to return it to its original state. We talked about how it’s difficult to restore trust and communication once it’s lost, and brainstormed how to use kind words to resolve conflicts.
Each class came up with their own interpretations of “empathy” and “being a bystander”.