Snapshot: February 2021

We acknowledge and thank the W̱SÁNEĆ people on whose traditional territory we live, learn, and teach. The W̱SÁNEĆ people have lived and worked on this land since time immemorial.


Why Focus on Kindness and Compassion?

While research into kindness and compassion is still young, evidence suggests that kindness and compassion are biological traits, and that practicing these skills can lead to improved health, enhanced well-being and better relationships.  Compassion and kindness allow us to walk with ourselves and others in a new way, as we work to create a world we're all happy to find ourselves within.

Striving towards inclusive, kind, compassionate learning environments.

According to the 2018 BC McCreary Adolescent Health Survey, 39% of students reported experiencing discrimination in the previous year.  While students described discrimination most often on accord of physical appearance, experienced discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, and physical appearance had all increased since the previous survey in 2013.  The McCreary report is a cumulative report from over 38,000 students across 58 BC districts, and reminds us of the importance of working towards kindness, compassion, and strengthened relationships.   


Science suggests there are benefits to being kind.

Did you know that just one act of a kindness a day can reduce anxiety, stress and depression, while flooding your body with hormones that lead to greater calmness, happiness, and health in both yourself, as well as the person you helped?  Kindness can lead to increased serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin.

Kind and Compassionate Communities

Working with the vision in sight.

While we tend, at times, to focus on negative aspects of behaviour, focusing our attention on the culture we are working to cultivate can help us focus on what we are working towards. In addition to focusing on reducing negative acts such as bullying in our schools, focusing on positive traits such as compassion and kindness can remind us of the benefits we are working towards, helping us create communities that foster safety and inclusion.  

Creative tension.

When we look at our current reality in junction with the vision we hold and would like to see actuate, the experience can be one of tension.  And yet, if we imagine an elastic stretched between the two, we come to see the only way for resolution and release of tension when holding steady to our vision, is by shifting our currently reality towards it.  By focusing on the schools, environments, communities and interactions we hope to create, we can shift our reality towards one of even greater kindness and compassion. 


Get Inspired!

Check out the link through the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation to visit monthly kindness activities, and to reflect on ideas and inspiration to bring kindness into your day!  Scroll through ideas relevant to work, school and home environments, and consider how one random act of kindness a day could shift your world.

A Buddy Bench: How little people can make a big difference.

Check out Charlie Cooper's Tedx Talk explaining his experience with loneliness and school, and his learning and implementation around buddy benches, and more inclusive environments.


Choose kindness!

Did you know it's Pink Shirt Day on February 24th?  Pink Shirt Day originated in Nova Scotia, when a boy was bullied in his school for wearing a pink shirt.  Following this incident, two students chose kindness over bullying, purchasing over 50 pink shirts that were worn at their school as an act of support the following day.  Pink Shirt Day reminds us that we too can choose kindness, and stand in support of one another.

Self Compassion

What about self compassion?

Compassion for oneself mirrors compassion for others.  In noticing and responding to the experience of pain, we are then able to offer ourselves the same kindness in turn that we might offer a friend.  Rather than trying to repress an experience, self compassion allows us to notice and care for self, noticing and comforting ourselves through challenging moments.

Why does it matter?

While it can be tempting to move quickly to a place of problem solving, we seldom make our best decisions when in distress.  By acknowledging our situation and the hurt we are experiencing, focusing on common humanity, and working to alleviate suffering through kindness and self compassion - we are able to better care for ourselves, alleviate our suffering, remain connected, and make better decisions. 

What traits can help this process?

Mindfulness and awareness allow us to acknowledge when we are in pain - for instance, when negative self talk may leave us feeling hurt.  This is not about over exaggerating emotions, but rather about acknowledging them.  If we are unable to recognize our experience of the present moment, we are unable to intentionally address and ease hurt and suffering.

Focusing on common humanity allows us to remain connected, rather than to isolate.  When we wonder  "why me", we often feel cut-off, furthering hurt and distress.  When we recognize suffering is a part of life's experience and common humanity, we are more likely to continue feeling connected to others, alleviating pain.

Self-Kindness offers an alternative approach to unhelpful self- criticism.  While responding to personal failures and challenges with self-criticism often leads to further stress and resentment, self-kindness allows us to accept the current reality from a supportive place of compassion, forgiveness, learning, and new perspectives.

Curricular Links

Positive mental health promotion in our classrooms and schools

Interested in supporting positive mental health in your classroom or school?  Check out the following links and resources to learn more about how to strengthen and promote positive health and well-being.

Centre for Healthy Minds: Kindness Curriculum

The Kindness curriculum seeks to draw on research and evidence based practice to design lessons growing skills in kindness and compassion, just as we would try to grow skills in literacy and numeracy.  Check out the link below and explore free curriculum cultivating social/emotional learning related to these topics.


The Kindness Curriculum

The Kindness Curriculum is an Australian resource including activities designed to build the attributes of empathy, gratitude, perspective, honesty, self-compassion, self-acceptance, humility, collaboration, mindfulness, meditation, trust, affiliation and humour.


Kindness in the Classroom 

The Kindness is the Classroom Program is supported through the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, and offers free lesson plans and resources for K-12 classrooms, in addition to educator resources.   Based on a four step model, empower-act-share inspire, this resource is CASEL-approved, and seeks to embed kindness within the framework of social emotional learning.


Podcast: A neuroscientist on love and learning

On Being host Krista Tippett and neuroscientist Richard Davidson discuss the topic of love, kindness, and education, considering how emotions can both contribute and disrupt cognition and behaviour, being an intimate aspect of all we do.  With the belief that we are hardwired for compassion in the same way we are hardwired for language, Dr. Richard Davidson discusses how to cultivate characteristics like compassion and kindness in the classroom.

Make Kindness the Norm, Not the Exception!

Cultivating kindness and compassion.

If our fondest memories often involve moments where others have offered us kindness, why aren't we kind more often?  The effects of kindness can't be denied - make kindness the norm, and not the exception!


Interested in Learning More?