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EarlystART students in KC share meaning of kindness

Posted at 10:12 AM, Mar 19, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lately, the news cycle has been heavy.

We've heard from several voices about violence prevention and de-escalating arguments.

Those who have lost loved ones have said the world needs "to be kind to one another."

So, I decided to head back to EarlystART to get a child's perspective of what it means to be kind.

"You have to be nice and thankful and share all the things," one student said. "And you have to just take care of people and you have to just love them."

Students are learning these lessons from educator Ms. Barbara Hill.

"One of the hardest things to teach kids is empathy and teaching how to feel for other people, but these guys are also learning it starts with the small children and their social, emotional development," Hill said. "It starts with them."

And her lessons are staying with them.

"I should be kind when I'm an adult, too," another student said. "I gotta be nice every single day."

One student said they don't want "nobody sad anymore," which is why they want to "make them happy."

Students also shared what not to do:

  • "Don't punch no people or kick nobody, and keep your hands to yourself."
  • "'Cause you don't want to get in trouble, so you won't miss your area time."
  • "If you don't be nice, I'm gonna tell the teacher."

To summarize what my new friends said: be kind, be nice and be caring.
"Share something with your friends and your whole family, and you have to love them very, very, very much," one student said.

Hill also said her students are quite observant.

"Kids notice a lot of things," Hill said. "And my kids are really good with that. They notice when people are sad; they notice, they'll come up and ask. They'll offer a nice touch."

Hill's class is currently working on a kindness experiment. The idea came from KC-area author Nikiyah Crosdale's book, "The Thought Jar."

Students will work on their own thought jars, focusing on being thoughtful of each other and highlighting the kind actions they see their classmates do.