For those of us that work in the Early Years, kindness tends to come naturally. We want what is best for the children in our care and for them to grow into good, well-rounded individuals. This is also highlighted in the Development Matters (2020) statements where children are encouraged to ‘build constructive and respectful relationships’ by helping, listening to and supporting each other. (p. 33)
Research shows that parents also prioritise this emotional development and so we have a vital role as Early Years Professionals to work together with parents in promoting kindness within our settings. We can do this by ensuring children are able to show and talk about kindness.
We have all seen arguments between children - sharp words over a toy, pushing when frustrated or a tantrum when they are not getting their way - and these instances are all commonplace in an Early Years setting. In the same way we teach children to count, it is also important to teach children to be kind and there is no age limit on when this learning can begin!
Here are our top three tried-and-tested Twinkl EYFS tips on encouraging and teaching kindness to ourselves and others in the Early Years:
1. Role model kindness yourself:
As Early Years Professionals, we naturally role model kindness throughout the day. It is visible in the small things we do, such as: saying please and thank you, greeting and saying goodbye, holding doors open or sharing with a friend. To us, these may seem like small things but children are constantly observing what we do and pick up on our behaviours.
This Twinkl Checklist highlights what we can do every day in the setting to model kindness.
2. Talk about kindness:
As we teach and show children about kindness, we also need to talk about it. Show children that you notice when they are kind.For example, you might say “that was a very kind thing to do” when you see a positive interaction between peers. This not only embeds the behaviour for the future, but it also brings it to the attention of other children around them!
This Twinkl PowerPoint can support your conversations about kindness in the setting.
3. Perform kindness together:
Working alongside children, Early Years Professionals can help support and scaffold kindness into the daily routine of a child. In the setting, this can be picking up the toys together at tidy up time or helping a friend zip up their coat. It is also shown through fundraiser events for local and national charities. These acts show children that kindness helps others and that we can feel good by doing this.
These Twinkl stickers are great for highlighting how children are performing acts of kindness.
As children learn from observing us, we can provide them with the knowledge and language of kindness - with the aim of them using it independently. Always remember to be kind to yourself and others around you… children will learn to follow your example!
For further resources linked to the topic of ‘kindness’, why not visit our Random Acts of Kindness Week page at www.twinkl.co.uk?