There is a small, but growing body of research that is beginning to show that teachers are uniquely poised to help students develop prosocial (positive) behaviors. Teaching kindness in the classroom setting can redirect inappropriate and unkind behaviors. Direct, unkind actions towards other children can be seen in children as young as three, including exclusionary behavior. Children may have seen these behaviors modeled in the home or in other settings, and they can bring them into the school experience. At three, these actions range from a child putting his hands over his ears to show, “I’m not listening to you” to pushing or hitting.
If students are not stopped and taught a prosocial behavior in the moment one of these actions occurs, a pattern of aggression can continue. This is why at East Woods we believe teaching prosocial behaviors begins with our youngest students and continues through Lower and Upper School.
To put it plainly, we teach kindness because we model kindness.