This year, more than any year before, has taught us how important it is to check in with friends and family and how small acts of compassion can go a long way.
Sharon Mangoma, a teacher at Suffolk One Sixth Form and College, has self-produced Little Acts of Kindness journals that aim to encourage children in primary schools between the ages of five and 11 to jot down their acts of kindness and gratitude weekly from the start of the school year.
Sharon, mother of two children aged nine and 13, hopes that, with this journal, schools and families can support children’s mental health and wellbeing through kind acts and discussions about their feelings and gratitude. The journal encourages children to be friendly towards all their peers inside and outside of school as they will need something to write about in their journals to share with the class.
Sharon told us: “Imagine if we just got every child to show some act of kindness to another child at least once a week, that would change the culture within school and create a positive environment for our children. That is what
I was thinking about when making this journal.”
The journals come with different rewards for those acts of kindness, such as stickers and reward certificates to show children that in return for acts of kindness to others, they will receive kindness in return. Sharon also hopes to
do annual check-ins with a free questionnaire to assess the impact of acts of kindness and gratitude journaling on children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Sharon hopes to secure funding from Suffolk County Council to help with the printing costs so that she can get the journals into as many local primary schools as possible.
She said: “When I was doing research into making the journal, I found that there are extensive studies into the fact that children who regularly perform acts of kindness are confident and happier in themselves. It improves their grades, their relationships and they generally become happier because they are focusing on the positives around them rather than the negatives. When they have been kind to another person, they feel good in return.”
Of course, after a year where mental health has been at the forefront of everyone’s discussions, especially with children who had previously had to be homeschooled away from their friends, this journal couldn’t have come
at a better time.
“It’s an easy and fun tool to take care of children’s mental health and wellbeing. I want to change the culture in school to help reward kindness and gratitude and I really think these journals are the way to do that.”
Remember to always be kind, compassionate and caring – small acts of kindness go a long way!