Post #5 (5-Part Series)
At COMPASSION IT, we encourage schools and parents to introduce compassion to prevent and curb bullying. Our reversible wristbands are an easy and tangible tool that make compassion accessible for all ages.
Nearly one out of three students reports being bullied, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics 2013. Because of this, most schools have implemented anti-bullying programs, and children learn about bullying starting the day they enter kindergarten.
Schools are teaching kids how NOT to treat each other, but why can’t we also focus on teaching them how TO treat each other? In other words, what if we make pro-compassion programs as prevalent as anti-bullying programs?
Oglethorpe Point Elementary School in St. Simons Island, Ga., flipped the conversation on bullying. After losing a kindergartner to cancer in the spring of 2015, the school realized the power of compassion and decided to make compassion a priority. A motivated school counselor secured grant funding to bring COMPASSION IT wristbands to her elementary school (750 students), and she rolled out the wristbands and compassion training to the entire school. Not only was the impact positive, but the school district’s 10 other elementary schools are planning to introduce COMPASSION IT.
See below for testimonials, ideas to cultivate compassion, and also a guide for implementing COMPASSION IT in your school.
Testimonials from Oglethorpe Point Elementary Educators and Families:
Students are becoming so invested in the idea of compassion. They cannot wait to brag – mostly on a friend! – when they see someone doing something that they consider “compassionate” and give it the title!
Students want to share how they have shown compassion - this has heightened their awareness! They tell me to flip my bracelet when they feel I have shown compassion.
Two fifth grade girls shared that during this past weekend, they had a lemonade stand and bake sale to raise money for one of their cheerleading friends whose dad died and mom just went to prison for four years. The cheerleader is a senior at a local high school, and he is the top level cheerleader on their team. They raised $400.00 that will allow him to continue to cheer for two months.
I hear about compassion many times at home from my granddaughters. It’s working! Thanks for all you do!
- Invite students to write stories and poems about compassion to be published in the local newspaper.
- Encourage each grade level to adopt a different compassion service project every month.
- Create a COMPASSION tree. On paper leaves, students can write statements about ways they have witnessed compassion at school.
- Ask a parent or grandparent to make a compassion bench for the playground. When a child doesn’t have anyone to play with, he sits on the bench. Students are instructed to be aware of the bench and invite the left-out child to play.
How to implement COMPASSION IT:
- Purchase COMPASSION IT wristbands for the school. Wristbands can be customized to reflect your school colors (contact COMPASSION IT for details). Oglethorpe Elementary received local grant funding to purchase wristbands.
- Upon receiving wristbands, generate excitement with your fellow educators and community members. Schedule a meeting to educate staff, parents, and community members about COMPASSION IT. Engage these individuals in brainstorming about various service projects for each grade level. Examples include: providing coloring kits to children’s hospitals, gathering canned goods for local food banks, and providing necessities to local shelters
- Hold a school-wide spirit rally to introduce the COMPASSION IT theme to the students. This video is helpful in introducing the concept: https://youtu.be/uaWA2GbcnJU. Once students see the video, the school counselor can explain what compassion is, and why it is important to make it a verb.
- Encourage the school counselor to meet with each class to show the above video and engage the students in a discussion about compassion. Ask students to identify ways the video reflects compassion to the environment, animals, and people. Hand out wristbands to students, and explain each student’s goal is to show at least one act of compassion each day. When a compassionate act is completed, the wristband can be flipped (and celebrated)!
- Include monthly guidance lessons which highlight compassion-related topics such as inclusion.
You can also use this free lesson plan to help you introduce COMPASSION IT to your students.
Order COMPASSION IT wristbands as a simple tool for introducing compassion to children.