Against the backdrop of the Winter Olympics, Random Acts of Kindness Week and Valentine’s Day, Buice Elementary School counselor Christie Shefchik formed the idea of having the Kindness Olympics.
All 650 of the campus’s kindergarten through fifth-grade students went through six stations that ranged from writing kind messages on a hand-shaped piece of paper and taping it to someone’s back to the circle of kindness, a game of musical chairs where when you are out, you are complimented.
The idea, said Shefchik, was to spread kindness and teach the students how to be kind to each other.
“This is basically their extended family, their home away from home,” Shefchik said. “We want to lift each other up and not bring each other down.”
Shefchik said along with the kind messages taped to students’ backs and the circle of kindness Wednesday, activities in the gym included the web of kindness, kindness bookmarks that were hidden in library books and spoonful of kindness and kindness charades.
Spoonful of Kindness involved students putting a spoon in their mouths with a conversation candy heart on it, then without using their hands, walking a short distance across the gym floor, dropping it into a bucket, tag their teammate and continuing the game.
The web of kindness was where students tossed a skein of yarn to each other and created a spider web. But they had to say something kind before they tossed it. The result looked like a giant spider web.
Shefchik said she hopes this will be the first annual Kindness Olympics.
“They don’t get medals. They get the enjoyment and experience of practicing some kindness,” Shefchik said.
She added that this is part of character education. Shefchik said students need to be reminded that it’s their job to be here for each other, to lift each other up and not bring each other down. She hopes that having a memorable activity will remind the students throughout the day and throughout the year to be kind to each other because life’s too short to bring someone else down and hurt them.
“At the elementary age, we’re trying to build that character before they get to the middle school and high school ages when severe bullying and stuff like that starts,” Shefchik said. “That’s my goal here at the elementary level is to build that character early.”
Second-graders Autumn Warren and Ben Bray, who are 8, and Juli McMaryion, who is 7, said the Olympics were a good idea.
“I think it’s kind of sweet,” Warren said.
“I think it’s supposed to tell others that you should be kind to pay it forward. We’re paying it forward by giving each other roses,” Bray said.
McMaryion added that they were going to have a party later with snacks and toys that would be passed out to everyone.