A primary school in County Cork Ireland gave its students a special gift. Instead of doing math homework or book reports, the children did acts of kindness for their friends, family, and community according to The Irish Post. And that is a much more valuable lesson.
The children attending Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin in Clonakilty performed these kind acts in December and recorded their acts in writing or pictures in a Kindness diary. Two years ago, the students were required to keep track of what they are grateful for. This year’s December project has not been announced yet.
In the kindness project, the teachers suggested that the children do kind deeds for an elderly neighbor or a friend who is feeling lonely. Any act that helped to brighten someone’s day.
The students were also encouraged to write kind notes to each other that were read at an assembly every week and all the classes got together to come up with a school-wide project to help the community during the Christmas season.
“We are encouraging our pupils to think of the real spirit of Christmas, the spirit of kindness and giving,” vice principal Íde Ní Mhuirí said on Facebook.
"Unfortunately, not everyone is in a position to be able to enjoy Christmas, some are lonely, some are sad, some might yearn for what they do not have and some might simply not enjoy the festivities. But there is nobody in this world who wouldn’t benefit from an act of kindness, and the joy of kindness is that it costs nothing."
The Irish Examiner spoke to some of the children at the school about the acts of Kindness project and what it meant to them:
“We had no written work this month and it’s all just about being nice to one another,” fifth class student Tadhg Ó Seighin told the Irish Examiner. “I think the project is very important because it encouraged people to be kind to one another and to be kind to people who aren’t treated very nicely.”
First class student Andy Ó Tuama said, “Kindness is about making people’s lives better by changing little things, or doing little nice things to make the world a better place for people.”
Even the youngest students gained from the experience. Senior infant Alice Stíobhaird said, “it’s just good to be kind because let’s just say I had a toy and someone didn’t have one and they were really sad, and then you give one to them, that might make them happy.”
The children made a lot of calls to their grandparents and to seniors in the community, helped their parents and siblings at home, as well as their schoolmates. What the children learned about kindness is far more important than reading, writing, and arithmetic.