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Hawley Elementary School Students Focus On Self-Kindness For One Day



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Hawley Elementary School followed up its Kindness Month, celebrated throughout December, with a special Student Self-Kindness Day on January 25.

The school community spent the month of December learning about kindness, doing kind acts for others, and focusing on being kind. Kindness Month began with a visit by Westport author Karlin Gray on December 3, and it ended with a Kindness Assembly on December 21.

The Student Self-Kindness Day was overseen by language arts consultant Patti Vitarelli, school counselor Kimberly Shapiro, lead teacher Jenna Connors, and the school’s Kindness Committee.

According to Ms Connors, the Student Self-Kindness Day had students participate in a range of activities to help promote the idea that “compassion for others begins with being kind to yourself.” Students were given a list of activities from which to select and assigned to two activities based on their selections. Kindergarten to second grade students participated in activities earlier in the day, and third and fourth graders participated in activities later.

“The day was a huge success,” Ms Connors said in an e-mail after the day was over. “There were smiles all around as students engaged in activities of their choice, and teachers had opportunities to share their passions.”

In the school’s reading lounge, Ms Vitarelli shared instructions for third and fourth grade students near the start of one activity period. She told the students to choose a book from piles on display in the reading lounge or to read their own. Students snuggled into a corner of a couch or into a chair and quietly began reading.

“I love reading,” fourth grader Kate Gies whispered when asked why she chose the activity.

Other activities during the third and fourth grade session included playing board games, playing basketball, crafting, participating in yoga, and singing karaoke. Students politely asked each other to pass sprinkles and icing in the school’s Multipurpose Room, where a cookie decorating activity was underway. Fourth grade teacher Gina Shanahan baked sugar cookies for the event, and students chose which toppings they would put on their cookie. Fourth grader Finn Roche scattered red sprinkles on his cookie on a bed of yellow icing. He then topped off the masterpiece with different candy decorations. Nearby third grader Ryder Symes gingerly drizzled green icing on his cookie before adding a heaping dollop of purple icing.

Hawley Elementary School Principal Christopher Moretti visited each activity. In the school’s gymnasium, he sprinted and hopped between students playing rounds of the basketball game of Knockout.

“It’s been amazing,” said Mr Moretti, noting there were no visits to the nurse, no bathroom breaks, and no behavior problems throughout the day’s activities.

Hawley Elementary School third grader Trace Irwin was quick to open a book and find his place during a reading activity held as part of the school's Student Self-Kindess Day on January 25. —Bee Photo, Hallabeck
Hawley Elementary School third grader Ryder Symes holds a cookie he decorated during a cookie decorating activity on Student Self-Kindness Day.
Hawley Elementary School fourth grader Jolene Brackett reads during an activity held for the school’s Student Self-Kindness Day on January 25. —Bee Photos, Hallabeck
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