Kindness

Learning to share

It seems like our world could use a little more kindness. When I see what is happening in the news around the world, it is easy for me to become overwhelmed and think, What can I do? I’m only one person. And then I remember—I teach preschoolers in Mission Friends! One of the greatest things I can do is teach my preschoolers to love God and love others. We show that we love others by being kind to others. Here are some things I want to say about kindness.

As preschool teachers, it is up to us to intervene when we observe a preschooler who exhibits unkind behavior toward others, physically or verbally. We can no longer just let it go. We must use those times as teachable moments to help preschoolers express frustration in a better way and learn problem-solving skills. It may seem minor to us when a preschooler pushes another to be first in line or takes a toy away from another. If we do not intervene though, the child begins to learn that those negative behaviors help me to get what I want. We must step in whenever a preschooler is unkind to others.

We not only need to intervene when preschoolers exhibit negative behaviors, but we need to show them the positive behaviors. First, we need to look at how we interact with preschoolers ourselves. Are we showing them an example of someone who is kind, even when we are frustrated? Preschoolers learn through imitation, and they will imitate the way we speak to them and treat them. Secondly, we need to help preschoolers in learning how to problem-solve. We can remind them to use their words. Because preschoolers sometimes do not have the vocabulary or verbal skills, we sometimes need to tell them how they can use their words. For example, if a preschooler takes markers from another, you can say, “Ask Jessie, ‘Can I use the red marker?’” Involve preschoolers in developing their own solutions by asking questions such as, “How can you both build with blocks at the same time?” This is teaching them about communication in teaching how to talk with others.

Along with communication, we need to teach preschoolers of collaboration in teaching how to work with others. The unit on Kindness Counts has many activities that encourage preschoolers to work with others. As preschool teachers, we tend to focus so much on the individual preschooler and we want each one to have something of their own to take home. We can teach more about collaboration if we have preschoolers paint a picture in pairs or all make a mural together. We teach about collaboration when we play active games in which preschoolers have to work with others. We also help them with cooperation when we do things to develop their listening skills, such as singing movement songs, listening for words in a story, or clapping name rhythms. Learning how to communicate with others is a big part of being kind to others.

Another aspect in teaching kindness is to teach preschoolers about compassion. One of our goals in Mission Friends is to teach preschoolers that other people have needs, and I can do things to help meet others’ needs. This is why we encourage Mission Friends groups to do Helping Others activities. When we teach preschoolers that they can show love to others, we teach them of compassion and empathy toward others. Preschoolers need to have experiences in helping others so they will understand the meaning of the Bible thought, Do not forget to do good and to share with others (see Heb. 13:16). When preschoolers have compassion for others, they will certainly show kindness to others.

We impact the lives of our preschoolers today and into their future as we teach them about kindness. As I think about what I can do in our world’s current situation, I am going to focus on teaching my Mission Friends about communication, collaboration, and compassion. If they develop in each of these three areas, then I know there will be more kindness in our world.

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