Kind Hearts philosophy spreading through young hearts

Central Normal pupils Ngamarama Tuariki, 10, Nevaeh Anihana, 11, and Calais Parkinson, 10, learning about being Kind Hearts.
DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Central Normal pupils Ngamarama Tuariki, 10, Nevaeh Anihana, 11, and Calais Parkinson, 10, learning about being Kind Hearts.

Winter chills are being chased away, with an explosion of warmheartedness breaking out in primary pupils.

More than 80 children from nine Manawatu schools took part in the annual Kind Hearts group event on Wednesday.

The Palmerston North-based trust helps fundraise for community needs, prints pass-it-forward coffee cards, and is on a mission to foster kindness. Since 2015, it has gradually been increasing work with schools.

Founder Leigh Rosanoski said the programme empowers children to foster the movement in those around them, as well as understanding practical ways to act kindly.

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"We can see it growing. It's very student-driven. The ideas the kids are coming up with are just phenomenal and the kids are talking about how it's really making a difference in the school."

Emily Andrew, 11, from Mt Biggs School, said Kind Hearts had been used in her class for two years. They use kindness cards, where pupils can anonymously write a compliment or nice note to a classmate, and have weekly kindness buddies.

Pupils also secretly find kind things to do for a classmate, as well as learning about how to act kindly.

"I think it's really important. A simple smile can make someone's day.

"I do think there's more kind things now. There's a lot of people that will say 'hi' or give you a hug. It's really special actually. It doesn't have to be a big thing to make you smile."

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Rosanoski said working with young children was an effective way to make a difference.

"It gives them a really strong sense of unconditional kindness, and being kind to themselves, building their mana and sense of who they are, and resilience."

A professionally written Kind Hearts teaching programme has been designed for schools and will be launched soon. The aim is for schools to aspire to spread kindness to the wider community, neighbouring towns and even other countries.

"They become our champions out there spreading the word and they are the future adults, so it's well worth investing in them."

 - Stuff

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