Upper Arlington News

Barrington Elementary School

'Kindness kits' meant to inspire younger students


Barrington Elementary School fifth-graders left a legacy for younger students earlier this month -- Kindness Kits to promote the school motto, "Work Hard, Be Kind."

Parent and PTO member Tina Muldoon said the fifth-graders created kits filled with "tools that inspire and empower kids to make safe and kind choices" and gave one to each kindergarten through fourth-grade classroom.

"The kits will stay in each classroom, benefiting future students for many years," she said.

The fifth-graders delivered the Kindness Kits on June 2 and 3, during the last week of school before summer break.

"Barrington has 132 fifth-grade students that were divided into groups each day to deliver the kits," Muldoon said. "They explained to each classroom what the kits contained and how they could be used to help create an empathetic, kind and healthy social learning environment."

She said the kits contain lesson plans and activities, along with a book called Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson.

"At some point in our lives, we are all unkind," Muldoon said. "At some point, we are all treated unkindly by someone. Sometimes we won't get a second chance at kindness and that is the lesson learned from this book."

She said the kits also contain a large bowl and a small stone.

"Each student is asked to share an act of kindness they have shown that day," she said. They are then asked to toss the stone in the bowl of water to see the ripple effect of one act of kindness.

"The students learn that everything we do goes out, like a ripple, into the world," she said.

The fifth-graders also created "talking sticks" for each classroom.

"Their lesson plan explains that only the person holding the stick is allowed to talk, encouraging others to direct their full attention to the speaker," she said.

The students were able to purchase materials needed for the kits because they received a grant of $1,500 from the Upper Arlington Education Foundation. They also received $600 from the Youth Advisory Council.

Muldoon said the Barrington PTO and fifth-grade parents also contributed to the kits.

Her daughter, Lydia, was one of the students who made the kits.

"It was so much fun to help out and create activities for the kids to do," Lydia said. "I also loved to deliver the Kindness Kits because the kids were excited and enjoyed our presentation.

"And, just knowing that you made a change in the world and people's lives is an amazing feeling," she said.

Mrs. Muldoon said most of the fifth-graders have spent six years at the school and view themselves as leaders and role models.

"I thought it (the kits) would be the perfect gift to their younger peers, helping empower and inspire future students to make safe and kind choices," she said.

She said the fifth-graders wrote down random acts of kindness in each book.

"A few examples of what they wrote were, 'Open the door for someone today; smile at someone and sit by someone new in the lunchroom,' " Mrs. Muldoon said.